The Trident and the Snakes
The trident is the weapon of Siva with which he destroys evils
and restores order. The trident stands for the triple qualities
of nature, namely, sattva, rajas and tamas. Siva is the master of
maya and thereby master of these three qualities with which he
controls the universe.
The trident symbolically represents the fact that Siva is the
controller of the universe and the controller of all illusion.
The trident also represents the three aspects of time, the past,
the present and the future.
Siva is master of Time, Kala Bhairava who determines the
progress of the universe according to his will. The trident
represents the three paths to self-realization, namely the path
of knowledge, the path of action and the path of devotion.
With these three paths, Siva transforms his devotees and
destroys the evil in them. The trident stands for the three
primary evils which need to be destroyed in order to make
progress towards the divine. They are the evil of anger, the evil
of lust and the evil of pride
The damaru denotes his connection with the primal sound AUM,
the creation of alphabets, languages, grammar and music. His long
matted hair denotes his spiritual life and his great powers.The
crescent moon adorns his hair like a silver diadem.
Symbolism of Snakes
He wears a garland of snakes around his neck. Sometimes we see
more snakes; one across his body like a sacred thread and two
acting as bracelets around his muscular hands. The snakes
symbolically represent his control over desire and sensuality.
Sometimes in his ferocious aspects, he is shown wearing a garland
There is a deep symbolism hidden behind this. The snake stands
for all the evil and demonical nature in the world. By wearing
the snake around his neck, Lord Siva gives us the assurance that
no evil can touch us or destroy us once we surrender to him, seek
his protection and worship him with deep devotion.
The snake also stands for the power of kundalini, which is
described as a coiled serpent lying dormant in the muladhara
chakra of all human beings and descends upwards when one starts
ones spiritual journey and becomes increasingly divine
The snake around the neck of Siva conveys the meaning that in
him the kundalini not only has arisen fully but is also actively
involved in the divine activity by keeping an eye on all the
devotees who approach Siva with their individual problems.
The snake also stands for all passions and desires. By wearing
the snakes around his neck, Lord Siva conveys the message to all
his devotees that He has overcome all desires and is in full
control of Prakriti, or maya and its various machinations.