Damru or damaru is the most common hour-glass drum played in India and adjoining nations like Tibet and Nepal. There are two drumheads on each side of the resonator which are laced together with a cord. Near the centre of the lacing are two loosely knotted cords. The knots on each end strikes both the heads to produce a rattling sound. This is affected by rotating the drum rapidly in alternate directions. The pitch is bent by squeezing the lacing.
The damru is well known throughout the Indian subcontinent and bears a special significance in Indian culture and traditions. It is strongly associated with Lord Shiva and the Sadhus (wandering Hindu religious saints). As mentioned in the Shiva Sutra, when Lord Shiva performed the cosmic dance of ‘Tandava’, the pious sound coming from the drumbeats of his damru gave birth to the Sanskrit language. Here, it is popularly known as a power drum, and when played tends to bring spiritual energy. An added symbolic interpretation of the sound of the damru suggests that the drum beat is akin to the rhythm of the heartbeat. A different version also suggests that the sound of damru symbolizes the words of the Vedas.
Naga Sadhus and other saints worshipping Shiva carry a damru along with them. They produce the sound during worship and also while seeking alms. The portable size of this musical instrument has also made it a favorite amongst the itinerant folk musicians.
The damru has been associated with both Buddhism and Hinduism since long. It is strongly associated with Lord Shiva and the Sadhus in Hindu religion, while in Buddhism, the damru is used for a different ritual ceremony. It is used by monks in Buddhist monastery. Damru is used ceremoniously during certain temple rituals and is the musical instrument of Lord Shiva. Shiva is generally depicted holding a damru, which essentially is the rhythm of all creative manifestation.
In Tantric Buddhist ritual in Tibet and Nepal, the damru instructs and reminds us of impermanence as the sound summons forth the female deity called Dakini, and celebrates the triumph of virtue over misery, that is achieved by practicing secret arts of the ‘Unexcelled Yoga Tantras’ or ‘Highest Yoga Tantras’. The damru is a ritual drum played by tantrics while performing puja. Again the Chöd practice–the Dhod teachings handed down by Machig Labdron and practiced by Tibetan yogis – also use damru. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition its usage amongst the Vajra Masters, monks, nuns and dakinis is very specific.
Details of Wooden Damaru
- Height - 5 inches
- Diameter - 3 inches
- Weight - 200 grams
- Quality - Ordinary
- Color - As shown in image