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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Pinaka, PinAka, Pinaaka

The various deities of the pantheon have certain objects held in their hands, including some weapons, as distinguishing marks. Though Śiva has the triśula[1] as the distinguishing weapon, he also has a bow called ‘Pināka’ which he uses occasionally as in the destruction of Tripura or the three cities of the demons and the sons of Tārakāsura like Tārākṣa.

According to one version, Śiva’s trident once fell down and got bent into the shape of a bow. This came to be known as the Pināka. Pāśupata is the chief arrow that is discharged from this bow. The word is sometimes defined as ‘that which protects’[2] people from evil forces.


  1. Triśula means the trident.
  2. Pāti, rakṣati means the one who protects.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore