Importance of number 3 in Hinduism (significance) (facts) | What is special about the number 3? | Why is the number 3 powerful? | What is the symbolism of 3? | What does the number 3 mean spiritually
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Just before going to “Importance of number 3 in Hinduism (significance) (facts) | What is the significance of the number 3? | What is special about the number 3? | Why is the number 3 powerful? | What is the symbolism of 3? | What does the number 3 mean spiritually“, let us know a brief, basic and very important information.
Many people think that only ‘0’ was given by Hinduism / Indians to the world. But the fact is all the number starting from -infinity to +infinity is given by Hinduism / Indians to the world.
For example the English word “triangle” is taken from the Sanskrit word “triangula” or more appropriately it is called as “trikona”. There are various examples which can show that all the number are indeed given by Hinduism / Indians to the world.
In Hinduism, number 3 represents AUM (OM) in its diagrammatic aspect which is considered to be primordial. Number 3 is considered as a highly important number that represents the ‘Tridevas’ or ‘Trimurti’, that is, Sri Brahma Deva, Lord Sri Vishnu, Sri Maheshwara.
Similarly their consorts are known as ‘Tridevis, that is, Sri Saraswati Devi, Sri Maha Lakshmi Devi and Sri Parvati Devi. The sacred ‘Yagnopaveetham’ (the holy thread called Janeu / Janivara) is the triple stranded sacrificial thread joined by a knot called ‘Brahmagranthi’.
This is worn by those initiated into the Gayatri Mantra chanting. Usually in Hinduism at the age or 7 or 8, males will be wearing this holy thread.
Many people are not aware that in the Satya (Krita) Yuga and Treta Yuga, similarly somewhat in the Dvarapa Yuga too, even females used to wear this sacrificial and holy thread.
But as time passed and with the advent of Kali Yuga people started to loose faith in this and almost very negligible people wear this sacrificial thread nowadays. In Sanskrit number 3 / three is known as Tri (३), which is also pronounced as ‘Traya’.
Let us now learn, how important is this number 3 in Hindu Sanatana Dharma:
Trideva (Tridev) / Trimurti : Here, Trideva – Tri + deva – Tri = three, deva = god. Similarly, Trimurti – Tri + murti – Tri = three, murti = god. As said above, in Hinduism there are 3 different types of main Gods, they are, Sri Brahma Deva, Lord Sri Vishnu and Sri Rudra Deva (Lord Shiva).
Sri Brahma Deva does the ‘srishti’ / creation of the universes. Lord Sri Vishnu does the ‘sthiti’ / maintenance of the universes. Lord Shiva does the ‘laya’ / destruction of the universes.
We should always remember that first and main God is Lord Sri Vishnu. His son is Sri Brahma Deva. And Sri Brahma Deva’s son is Lord Shiva.
Trinetra : Here Trinetra – Tri + netra – Tri = three, netra = eyes. Lord Shiva is known as Trinetra, as he is having three eyes.
As said above, we can easily note that in Hindu Sanatana Dharma we were very much aware of the numbers other than ‘0’ also.
Tripushkara (Tripushkar) Yoga : As per the Hindu astrology, Tripushkara yoga occurs with the combination of a particular day, tithi, and Nakshatra (constellation). This is believed and said to be good for making investments.
It is also said in Hinduism, that those born with these combinations have abundance of wealth in life and will live like a king wherever they are.
That is, Day: Sunday – Tuesday – Saturday | Tithi: Bhadra Tithi (Dvitiya, Saptami, Dvadashi) | Star: Krittika, Uttara, Uttaraashaada, Punarvasu, Vishakha & Purvaabhadra.
Trishula (Trishul) (Trident) : Trishula – Tri + shula = three + piercing. This is one of the main weapons of Lord Shiva. This is used in piercing into someone’s body (An Adharmi / ill minded demons). Thus it’s name is Trishula.
Triphala (Triphal) : Triphala – Tri + phala = three + fruits. This is a combination of Ayurvedic herbal formula mixture of three fruits, that is, Amalaki (Amla) (Indian Gooseberry), Bibhitaki (Baheda) (Terminalia Bellirica) and Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula Harad).
This is being used in India since early days as a very popular, potent and powerful Ayurvedic remedy for three ‘doshas’ (problems) related to Vaata, Pitta and Kapha. This Ayurvedic medicine is available in three different forms, that is, powder, tablets as well as liquid syrup.
The medicine has a balancing effect on the three constitutional elements (Vaata / Vata, Pitta and Kapha) that govern human life that boosts the immune system. It is used in a wide range of applications, specifically in digestive disorders, constipation etc.
Trikalagna : Trikaalagna – Tri + kaala + agna = three + time = knower. Lord Sri Vishnu is called as ‘Trikaalagna (त्रिकालज्ञ) (trikālajña)’, that is, Lord Sri Vishnu knows about the past, present and future all the time.
Lord Vishnu is called ‘Bhuta Bhavya Bhavat Prabhuh’ in Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, which means Knower of past, present and future. He is the one who makes all things happen in the past, present and future. Nothing happens without his knowledge.
Trikarya : Trikaarya – Tri + kaarya = three + work. The ‘Trikaarya’ or Trinal functions are ‘Srishti’ (creation), ‘Stithi’ (preserving / maintaining) and ‘laya’ (destruction).
As said above Srishti (Creation) is done by Sri Brahma Deva, Stithi (Preserving) is done by Lord Sri Vishnu and Laya (Dissolution) is done by Sri Rudra Deva (Shiva).
Trijata : Trijata = Tri + jata = three + braids. Trijata means, someone who has three braids of hair divided into three interwoven strands.
In Ramayana, during the Sita Devi stay at Lanka, a rakshasi / demon lady called ‘Trijata’ used to guard Sita Devi. This Trijata was the daughter of Vibhishana.
Even though this lady was rakshasi / demon, she had the ‘satvika’ (divine) element present in her. This same lady is born as ‘Subhadra Devi’ during the Mahabharata period, that is, as sister of Lord Sri Krishna.
Trivikrama : Trivikrama – Tri + vi + krama = Tri + victory + with the moment. Means someone who has the power by just moving his lotus foot can occupy the three worlds with ease.
Many of us know, Lord Sri Vishnu in his Sri Vamana avatar had come to Bali (Mahabali) Chakravarti’s kingdom and had kept his foot on three different sides. That’s why Lord Sri Vishnu is also called as ‘Trivikrama’.
For more information on this, you can visit my other post. The link for the same is as given here : Trivikrama correct meaning
Relationship of number 3 with Hindu Astrology : As per Hindu Astrology, Guru (Brihaspati) / Jupiter is the abhimani Devata / ruling planet of number three.
People born with number 3 as their birth number, are said to be creative, imaginative, success oriented, peace loving, having positive outlook, sympathetic and warm by nature.
Similarly, they are highly ambitious, disciplined and do not like subordination. Number 3 deals with intuition, invokes expression, versatility and pure joy of creativity.
Trikarana (Trikarna) Shuddhi : Trikarana Shuddhi = Tri + karana + shuddhi. Purity in thought (pre mind), speech (good talk) and deed (good actions) is known as Trikarana Shuddhi. Here karana means mind + speech + action.
Any type of action performed with Trikarana shuddhi (that is cleanliness) yields positive results. It is also known as Mano (Manasa / mind) – Vaak (Vaacha / talking) – Kaaya (limbs) Karmana.
Trivarna Dhvaja : Trivarna Dhvaja – Tri + varna + Dhvaja = three + color + flag. Our prestigious National flag is a tricolored flag having three colors, that is, kesari (saffron) signifying sacrifice, hara (green) that signifies prosperity and ‘shveta’ (white) that signifies peace.
Trikala : Trikaala – Tri + kaala = three + time. In Hinduism the three forms of time is known as ‘bhoota’ (past), ‘bhavya’ (present) also known as ‘vartamaana’ and ‘bhavat’ (future) also known as ‘bhavishya’.
Lord Sri Vishnu is known as the leader and lord of all the ‘tri-kaala’ (three forms of time), that is, ‘bhuta-bhavya-bhavat prabhu’.
Lord Sri Vishnu is the main ‘kaala niyaamaka’, means, the someone who governs all the three forms of ‘Time’ (Kaalachakra). After Lord Sri Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi Devi, Sri Vayu or Sri Hanuman is called “Trikaala jnani”.
Nama Trayam : Naama Trayam = Naama + Trayam = name + three – Achyuta, Ananta and Govinda.
Without chanting the three popular names of Lord Sri Vishnu, that is, ‘Achyuta – Ananta – Govinda’, no sacred ritual in Hindu philosophy will be complete. These three names are known as ‘Naama Trayam’ in Sanskrit.
Triveni Sangama : Triveni Sangama = Tri + veni + sangama = three + rivers + meeting (merging) point. The confluence of three three sacred rivers in India, that is, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati is called the ‘Triveni Sangama / Sangam’.
During the episode of ‘Kshira Sagara Manthana’, it is said in our shastras and believed that – it is one of the four sacred spots where a few drops of the nectar ‘Amrita’ spilled while it was carried by Lord Vishnu in his ‘Dhanvantari avatar’.
The other three places are Haridwar, Nasik, and Ujjain. All these four places are called ‘theerthas’ (divine places) and considered holy by the Hindus.
Among these four places (Triveni Sanagama, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain), ‘Triveni Sangama’ or ‘Prayaga’ (today’s PrayagRaj) is regarded as the holiest place and is called as the ‘Tirtha Raja’ (best among all the Tirtas / divine places / rivers).
These three rivers maintain their identity and are visibly different as they merge. We should note that, Yamuna is deep but calm & greenish in color, Ganga is shallow, but forceful & clear, while Saraswati remains hidden, believe that she makes her presence felt underwater.
The significance of ‘Prayaaga’ is widely known in the terrestrial and celestial universe. By bathing in the holy waters of ‘Triveni Sangama’, one gets rid from all sins and gets all his desires fulfilled. ‘Veni Daanam’ is a sacred ritual performed at ‘Triveni Sangama / Sangam’.
Tridosha : Medical science of Ayurveda is mainly based on the concept of ‘tridosha’ (three defects) of a body, that is, Vaata (Vata), Pitta and Kapha.
Triguna : Satvika (Satva) (humble and peace loving), Rajasa (Rajas) (aggressive) and Tamasa (Tamas) (inertia ridden) are the three states of mind or three natures or three temperaments that rule the behaviors of humans.
In Bhagavad Gita (14th & 17th Chapters), Lord Sri Krishna deals with the behavior of a man and different influences that these three qualities (Gunas), that is –
Purity, Passion and Inertia plays on the human life, covered exclusively in two chapters, that is, ‘Guna Traya Vibhaaga Yogam’ and ‘Shraddha Traya Vibhaaga Yogam’.
Tritiya (Trutiya) : Tritiya – Tri + tiya = third day. Third day (tithi in Sanskrit) of either fortnight (Krishna Paksha and Shukla Paksha) in a Hindu lunar calendar is known as ‘Tritiya’ which is known as Jaya tithi.
Tritiya thithi in the bright fortnight of Vaisakha month is known as Akshaya Tritiya very sacred and auspicious day in Hindu calendar. This is the same day ‘Krita Yuga’ (Satya Yuga) is said to have commenced.
Triloka : Triloka – Tri + loka = three + worlds. In ‘Gayatri Mantra’ it is said that, ‘Bhur – Bhuvah – Svah’, that is, Earth, Heaven and Netherworlds are the three worlds which forms the universe.
In the Great Sri Vishnu Sahasranama stotram, Lord Sri Vishnu is eulogized as “Tribhuvana Vapusham Vishnumeesham Namaami”.
That is, the three worlds symbolize the body of the Supreme Lord Sri Vishnu and as such entire universe is nothing but the form of Lord Sri Vishnu. He is the ‘Ishvarah’, that is, he is the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.
Trayodashi : Trayodashi – Trayo + dashi = three + ten = Thirteenth day. Tithi (day) occurring three days after the 10th lunar day (that is, Dashami) is known as ‘Trayodashi’ (13th day).
Lord Kama Deva is the abhimani devata (controlling God) of Trayodashi. He is the provider of all the good and positive desires. Lord Krishna and Goddess Rukmini’s eldest son Pradyumna was the avatar of Lord Kama Deva.
On the other hand a demon called Kalanemi is the provider of all the bad and negative desires. Kamsa, the evil maternal uncle of Lord Krishna was reborn as the demon Kalanemi.
Tridalam-Trigunakaram… : In the worship of Lord Shiva, sacred ‘Bilva patra’ (Bel patra) (Bilva leaf) used especially is a confluence of three leaves trifoliate is a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva’s weapon ‘Trishula’ (Trident).
This represents the ‘Trideva’, that is, Trinal Lords – Sr Brahma Deva, Lord Sri Vishnu and Sri Maheshwara.
This also represents the ‘triguna’ (three qualities), that is, ‘Satva, Rajo and Tamo guna’ and a symbolic representation of three syllables of Omkara. ‘Bilva dalam’ also represents the three eyes of Lord Shiva who is known as Trinetra.
Tripurasura : Tripurasura – Tri + pura + sura = three + worlds + demons. In Srimad Bhagavatam chapter 7th, we find a reference to ‘Tripurasura Samharam’.
‘Tripurasura’ are the three demons who were killed by Lord Shiva and in the process the palaces (Tripuras) where they were living along with their clan were also got destroyed and burnt.
You can visit this link for more information to know about Lord Shiva and Tripurasura: Killing of Tripurasura by Lord Shiva
Trikala Sandhya : In Sanskrit, ‘Sandhya’ means the meeting time or period or transit time of day and night (dawn to dusk).
‘Sandhyopaasana’ or ‘Sandhyavandana’ is prescribed to be performed three times that is known as ‘Trikaala Sandhya’.
This is done in three time, that is: Pratah Sandhya (morning before Sunrise) | Madhyaanah Sandhya (before Sun reaches the zenith) | Saayam Sandhya (before Sunset)
Tripathagamini (or Tripathaga) : Goddess Sri Ganga Devi (Ganga River) is known as ‘Tripathagaamini’ the one who flows in all the three worlds, that is, ‘Svarga Loka’ (Heaven), ‘Bhoo Loka’ (Earth) and ‘Nether Worlds’.
In ‘Svarga Loka’ (Heaven) Sri Ganga Devi is called as ‘Mandaakini’, on the Earth she is known with the same name ‘Sri Ganga Devi’ (Ganges) and in the Netherworlds she is known as ‘Bhogavati’.
Trayambakeshwar (Trimbakeshwar) : Dedicated to Lord Shiva (Trayambakam Goutamitate / त्रयम्बकं गौतमितटे), it is one of the famous ‘Dvadasha Jyotirlinga Kshetras’ (twelve Jyotirlinga divine places) situated on the banks of holy river Godavari about 20 km from Nashik in Maharashtra.
It is also the place of origin for ‘Godavari River’, which is also known as ‘Goutami Ganga’ (daughter of Maharshi Goutama). This name is named after the great Maharshi Goutama.
Speciality of this ‘Jyotirlinga Kshetra’ is that, it has three faces representing ‘Trideva’ that is, Trinal Lords, Sri Brahma Deva, Lord Sri Vishnu and Sri Maheshwara (Shiva). Water from river Godavari continuously falls on the top of the Jyotirlinga.
Trimukhi Rudraksha : Trimukhi Rudraksha – Tri + mukhi + Rudraksha = Tri + faced + Rudraksha. In the Rudraksha concept, there is a three faced Rudraksha. This is called as ‘Trimukhi’ and this is believed to represent Agni (Fire God) and planet Kuja (Mars).
It is also believed to bestow upon the wearer the ability to distance himself from committing sins and unethical works.
Trimathacharya : Trimathacharya – Tri + matha + Acharya = Three + matha (mutt) + Teacher.
The Advaita philosophy founder Sri Sankaracharya, Visishtadvaita philosophy founder Sri Ramanujacharya and founder of Dvaita philosophy Sri Madhvacharya are together known as ‘Trimathacharya’. All the above have their unique ways of teachings.
Trayambakam Yajamahe….. : Mrityunjaya Maha Mantra is one of the most powerful and very ancient mantra, which refers to the three eyes of ‘Lord Trayambakeshwar’, that is of Lord Shiva, the great destroyer of all evils and sorrows.
त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् | उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात् ||
ತ್ರ್ಯಂಬಕಂ ಯಜಾಮಹೆ ಸುಗಂಧಿಂ ಪುಷ್ಟಿವರ್ಧನಂ | ಉರ್ವಾರುಕಮಿವ ಬಂಧನಾನ್ಮೃತ್ಯೋರ್ಮುಕ್ಷೀಯ ಮಾಮೃತಾತ್ ||
tryambakaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭivardhanaṁ | urvārukamiva bandhanānmr̥tyōrmukṣīya māmr̥tāt ||
Here ‘Trayambakam’ means three eyed and the above mantra is in adoration of Lord Shiva. Chanting this mantra is an exclusive homa known as ‘Maha Mrutyunjaya Homa’ is also conducted for good health, longevity and to get rid of apa-mrutyu dosha and other obstacles in life.
If you are aware of any such terminology which has the importance with the number 3, you are always welcome to comment here.
If you are aware of anything which is related to ‘1 / one‘ in Hinduism, please let me know.
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