The two-headed Damaru drum, known as the ‘Shiva drum’ in the Hindu religion but also used in Buddhism for chanting, can be used as part of an active meditation practice. Here, we explain what it is, where it originates and how to use it…
The Damaru drum, used in both the Hindu and Buddhism faith as a spiritual instrument, has an hourglass shape with skins on either side to drum.
There are two strings hanging down with a bead on the end, for striking the drum.
‘Damaru’ is a Sanskrit word, perhaps derived from ‘damar’, which means ‘a riot or tumult, or a fearful situation caused by noise and commotion’, according to this website.
This would make sense, as the sound produced when the beads hit the skins, especially if the drum is spun quickly from one side to the other, sounds brilliantly riotous.
The Damaru drum is associated in Hinduism with Shiva, the God of – amongst other things; depending on the form he takes – ‘cosmic dancer’.
Shiva is often depicted with a Damaru drum, and is believed to be ‘the progenitor of all sounds, languages, music, and vibrations in creation.’
Devotees of Shiva say that ‘the beating of the Damaru by Shiva produced the very first sound (nada). This first sound was made in the void of nothingness.’
And that Shiva began his ‘dance of creation to the rhythm of the Damaru. From his dance, the world came into being.’
So it’s a powerful spiritual instrument.
Here’s me (Annie Ridout) giving it a go, in an Instagram Reel.
Using the Damaru drum in meditation practice
You can get your own Damaru drum and use it to create a rhythm that lulls you into a meditative state.
You could incorporate your own ‘cosmic dance’ movement with it too.
Essentially, moving your body freely and as wildly as you like.
Channel your inner Shiva.
Try holding the handle of the drum between the fingers on one hand, and then with both hands.
Swing it from side to side as fast as you can, and then slow down.
How does it feel, changing the pace?
Where does the sound take you?
Close your eyes and go wherever mind, body and spirit take you.
Breathe, move your body, feel the beat, enjoy the rhythm.
There are no rules; just stay with the Damaru drum for as long as feels good.