What is a Trisula?

Trisula, Trishula

The trihsula (also spelled trishul or trisula, Sanskrit for "three spear") is a trident spear that is the emblem of the god Shiva. The weapon symbolizes empire and the irresistible force of transcendental reality.

The three prongs of the trishula represent Shiva's three aspects of:

  • creator,
  • preserver
  • destroyer
Trishula symbol
Trishul painted on an Indian temple.
Photo: Arno Benesch.

as well as the three shaktis (powers):

  • will
  • action
  • wisdom

The fearsome goddess Durga also brandishes a trishula in one of her seven hands.


  1. "Hinduism." Encyclopædia Britannica (2007). Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  2. Anna L. Dallapiccola, Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend.

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