In India and Thailand, the term Shiva’s trishula often refers to a short-handled weapon which may be mounted on a danda or staff. But unlike the Okinawan sai, the trishula is mostly bladed. The trishula symbolism is polyvalent and rich. The trishula is wielded by the Hindu God Shiva and is said to have been used to sever the original head of Ganesha. Durga also holds trishula, as one of her many weapons. There are many other gods and deities, who hold the weapon trishula. The three points have various meanings and significance, and, common to Hindu religion, have many stories behind them. They are commonly said to represent various trinities—creation, maintenance and destruction, past, present and future, the three guna. When looked upon as a weapon of Shiva, the trishula is said to destroy the three worlds: the physical world, the world of the forefathers (representing culture drawn from the past) and the world of the mind (representing the processes of sensing and acting). The three worlds are supposed to be destroyed by Shiva into a single non-dual plane of existence, that is bliss alone.
In the human body, the trishula also represents the place where the three main nadis, or energy channels (ida, pingala and shushmana) meet at the brow. Shushmana, the central one, continues upward to the 7th chakra, or energy center, while the other two end at the brow, there the 6th chakra is located. The trisula's central point represents Shushmana, and that is why it is longer than the other two, representing ida and pingala.
- Trishula can sometimes also designate the Buddhist symbol of the triratna.
- A similar word, Trishul, is the Romani word for 'Cross'.
Mrityor Mokshiya Mamritaat
sansaar saaram Bhujgendra haaram,
Sadaa vasantam hridayaarvinde,
Bhavam Bhavaani sahitam namaami
(Lord Shiva), who is Incarnation of compassion,
who is the very essence of (consciousness; the
knowing principle) of life (of the embodied soul);
is in the heart of the devotee, I bow to Him (Lord
Shiva) and His consort Bhavani (Uma or Paarvati).
Karunaa (compassion); Avataaram (incarnation); Sansaar
(life of the embodied soul); Saaram (essence,
the knowing principle or consciousness);
Serpent power of Kundalini Shakti); Haaram
(garlands); Sadaa (eternal); Vasantam (resides);
Hridayaarvinde (in the heart of the devotee);
Sahitam (together); Namaami (I bow).
Santi Parva, section XLVIII
(Extracts-Abridged) Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Sauptika Parva Sections VI/ VII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli (Abridged)
- The Semitic letter Shin comes from the shape of the trident.
- The Greek and Cyrillic letter Psi also resembles the trident.
- The traditional weapon of the Hindu god Shiva.
- A weapon of South-East Asian (particularly Thai) depiction of Hanuman, a character of Ramayana.
- A fork Jewish priests (Kohanim) used to take their portions of offerings.
- The national emblem on the flag of Barbados.
- The "forks of the people's anger", adopted by the Russian anti-Soviet revolutionary organization, National Alliance of Russian Solidarists (NTS).
- The symbol of the Swedish Coastal Rangers, Kustjägarna.
- The coat of arms of Ukraine (Tryzub) – the symbol of Rurik Family.
- Britannia, the personification of Great Britain.
- The US Navy Special Warfare insignia, worn by members of the US Navy SEALs, and containing a trident representing the three aspects (Sea, Air, and Land) of SEAL special operations.
- Part of the golden-colored crest of the United States Naval Academy, which depicts a trident running vertically in its background.
- The symbol for Washington and Lee University.
- The symbol (since June 2008) for the athletic teams (Tritons) at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
- Sparky the Sun Devil, the mascot of Arizona State University, holds a trident. (ASU recently redesigned its trident as a stand-alone symbol)
- The trident was used as the original cap insignia and original logo for the Seattle Mariners.
- An element on the flag of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
- The Maserati logo
- Steel facade structures 60 feet tall, ringing the bases of the WTC Twin Towers, of which two that survived are displayed in the National 9/11 Memorial Museum
- The glyph or sigil of the planet Neptune in astronomy and astrology.
- Club Méditerranée