Damaru or damru is a small two-headed drum, used in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. In Hinduism, the damru is known as the instrument of the deity Shiva, and is said to be created by Shiva to produce spiritual sounds by which the whole universe has been created and regulated.
The damaru is very common throughout the Indian subcontinent. The damaru is known as a power drum, and when played, it is believed to generate spiritual energy. It is associated with the Hindu deity Shiva. It is believed that Sanskrit language was recognized by the drumbeats of the damaru (see Shiva Sutra for the sounds), and his performance of the cosmic dance of tandava. The damaru is used by itinerant musicians of all stripes, due to its small portable size.
In the shield shape of some damarus, the triangular upward representation also symbolizes male procreativity (the lingam), and the downward round representation symbolizes the female procreativity (the yoni). Symbolically, the creation of the world begins when the lingam and yoni meet at the midpoint of the damaru, and the destruction takes place when they separate from each other.
In Tibetan Buddhism
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the damaru is part of a collection of sacred implements and musical instrument was adopted from the tantric practices of ancient India. These reached the Himalayas from the 8th to 12th century, persisting in Tibet as the practice of Vajrayana flourished there, even as it vanished in the subcontinent of India.