Trishula, aka: Triśūla, Tri-shula; 13 Definition(s)


Trishula means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Triśūla can be transliterated into English as Trisula or Trishula, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

One of the Twenty-eight Single Hands (hasta):—Triśūla (trident): the thumb and little finger are bent. Usage: wood-apple leaf, three together.

Source: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Triśūla (Trident) - Control over action, speech and thought. Also fire — Agni and its 3 forms. The 3 paths to liberation Bhakti – love, Jñāna – wisdom and Karma– skilful action.

Source: Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Introduction

Triśūla (त्रिशूल) or Triśūlahasta refers to “triad” and represents one of the twenty-four gestures with a single hand, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Accordingly, pratimā-lakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons) is comprised of hand gestures (hasta, mudrā or kai-amaiti), stances/poses (āsanas) and inflexions of the body (bhaṅgas). There are thirty-two types of hands [viz., triśūla-hasta] classified into two major groups known as tolirkai (functional and expressive gestures) and elirkai (graceful posture of the hand).

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Trishula in Purana glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Triśūla (त्रिशूल).—A weapon of Śiva with the Vaiṣṇava tejas (brilliance of Viṣṇu) obtained by churning Sūrya. Viśvakarmā made the following: Cakrāyudha (Discus weapon) of Viṣṇu, Triśūla (three-forked spike) of Śiva, Puṣpaka Vimāna (Aerial chariot) of Kubera and the weapon Śakti of Subrahmaṇya. (Chapter 2, Aṃśa 3, Viṣṇu Purāṇa). (See under Viśvakarmā for more details).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Triśūla (त्रिशूल).—The trident of Śiva;1 made from the Vaiṣṇava tejas of the sun filed off by Tvaṣṭa.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 32. 14; IV. 19. 6, 85; 20. 81; Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 271.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 5. 31; 11. 29; 217. 31 Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 2. 11.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Dhanurveda (science of warfare)

Triśūla (त्रिशूल) refers to a weapon (“trident”). It is a Sanskrit word defined in the Dhanurveda-saṃhitā, which contains a list of no less than 117 weapons. The Dhanurveda-saṃhitā is said to have been composed by the sage Vasiṣṭha, who in turn transmitted it trough a tradition of sages, which can eventually be traced to Śiva and Brahmā.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dhanurveda
Dhanurveda book cover
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Dhanurveda (धनुर्वेद) refers to the “knowledge of warfare” and, as an upaveda, is associated with the Ṛgveda. It contains instructions on warfare, archery and ancient Indian martial arts, dating back to the 2nd-3rd millennium BCE.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Trishula in Shaivism glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Triśūla (त्रिशूल, “trident”).—According to the Vātulaśuddhākhyagama, the significance of the trident is: triguṇaṃ śūlam / (śloka 100b) “the trident is the three qualities”, i.e. it represents the three guṇa, viz. sattva, rajas and tamas. The same Āgama gives the description of Sadāśiva, the deity upon whom the sādhaka or devotee has to meditate. The god should be adorned with various attributes, which are the representations of guṇa, the qualities. This idea becomes very current during later Calukya times. Probably, during the early Calukya period, these ideas must have taken roots. The list starts with the triśūla and the paraśu.

Source: Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śaivism)
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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India history and geogprahy

Triśūla.—cf. tiriśūlam (SITI), trident; same as śūla. Note: triśūla is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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triśūla (त्रिशूल).—n m (S) A three-pointed pike or spear; esp. the trident of Shiva.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

triśūla (त्रिशूल).—n m A three-pointed pike or spear; esp. the trident of shiva.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Trishula in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Triśūla (त्रिशूल).—a trident. °अङ्कः, °धारिन् (aṅkaḥ, °dhārin) m. an epithet of Śiva.

Derivable forms: triśūlam (त्रिशूलम्).

Triśūla is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms tri and śūla (शूल). See also (synonyms): triśīrṣaka.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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Śūla.—(IE 7-1-2), ‘three’; cf. triśūla, a trident. Note: śūla is defined in the “Indian epigrap...
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Triśikha (त्रिशिख).—mfn. (-khaḥ-khā-khaṃ) Three-crested, three-headed. n. (-khaṃ) 1. A crest, a...
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Trikala (त्रिकल) is the name of a deity who received the Kāmikāgama from Praṇava through the ma...
Trimūrti (त्रिमूर्ति) or simply Tri refers to one of the ten forms (mūrti) of Śiva mentioned in...
Tri-guṇa.—(IE 7-1-2), ‘three’. Note: tri-guṇa is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” ...
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