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Tattoo designs - T >> Trishula

Trishula Tattoo Designs - The Trishula is the three-pronged weapon and emblem of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Also spelled, 'trishul' or 'trisula', it comes from the Sanskrit language where tri means 'three' and shula means 'spear'.

The Trishula has come to symbolize several important 'triads'. First, there is the Hindu trinity of deities - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It also stands for the aspects and powers associated with these gods -- Creation, Preservation and Destruction.

The three feminine (shakti) powers of will, action, and wisdom are also symbolized by the Trishula.

TrishulaThree more symbols of the design are desire, will, and love.

Not to be overlooked, are the the trishula design's potent symbolism of past, present and future. In Buddhism, the Trishula is symbolic of the Three Jewels - right knowledge, right belief, right action. In the Tibetan tradition, it is a magical weapon carried by the protective deities in their battles with evil forces.

As a weapon it is also associated with the goddess, Durga, one of Shiva's many consorts. She brandishes it in one of her seven hands as she ferociously takes on enemy demons. A Hindu myth describes Shiva striking his son with the trishula, the power of the weapon so great that it sent the lad's head flying so far it could not be found.

Lord Shiva holding his Trishula

Of the many images and portraits of Shiva, few depict him without his weapon. In fact, he is also known by the name Trishula Dhasa, which means 'one who holds the Trishula'. But the weapon has had a more far-reaching and elevated purpose for India and its Hinduism - to symbolize 'empire' and the 'irresistible force of transcendental reality'.

The Trishula has proved to be a powerful image for the Indian ruling party. During the 1990's and early part of this century, party leaders distributed trishuls amongst the people, inciting police to make arrests. 'Trishul' is also the name given to a ground-to-air missile manufactured in India.

Trishula Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!A recent discovery of Shiva images dating back almost 2,000 years is believed to be one of the earliest images of the god with his Trishula. In these, the trident is adorned with a thunderbolt, an axe, and a wheel. In later representations, the three spearheads are without embellishment. It has been suggested that these very early images may have been modeled on the Greek hero, Heracles. (Hercules to the Romans.)

Get inspired by some really great images and photos in our Trishula Inspiration Gallery

See also: Shiva, Religious Tattoo Index

Tattoo designs - T >> Trishula

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