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Why does Shiva have Trishul (Trident)?

Every Vedic deity is believed to possess powerful weapons. Even in the Greek mythology, gods have their weapons against their enemies. Even the Asuras (demons) have their weapons. One may have a question as to why to have weapons if the enemies have them as well?

The answer is that the Supreme Lord is not partial to anyone as all the created beings including the Asuras are His children. However, weapons created from the potencies of the Lord are used to balance the forces (Divine and Evil). Every living being acts according to the mode of nature (sato, rajo and tamo) they have acquired. Demons have tamo guna active in their mind and body. Hence, they tend to disturb those are in the mode of goodness (sato). Similarly those in the mode of rajas (passion) tend to engage in activities that need passion, anger and arrogance to attain the successes in those activities. People having different modes of nature tend to get in contact with each other, thereby creating disturbances to each other. For instance, during the reign of Lord Rama, demons sent by Ravana used to disturb the saints and sages engaged in Vedic Homas (sacrifices). Hanuman, the servitor of the Lord, protected those pious beings and drove away the demons.

Lord Shiva holds His divine Trident with three blades pointing upward; the tallest in the middle and the rest of equal size. There are many symbolic explanations for the Trident. Other gods and goddesses have the tridents too but Shiva’s Trident surpasses all for it is the epitome of the three gunas, modes of material nature; sato, rajo and tamo. Also, it is said to represent the three planetary systems; upper, middle and lower. At the end of the last Yuga (presently Kali Yuga) the manifested creations run into a complete annihilation by the force, The Trident. All the gunas and planetary systems destroyed by Shiva into a single non-dual plane of existence that is bliss alone.

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