Learn to Play > Lesson 2: Your first mrdanga mantra

The Balarama Mrdanga Book style of mrdanga mantras

As ISKCON grew more and more, it became increasingly difficult to supply the temples with mrdangas. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada requested Isan dasa to develop a mrdanga in the West that could be easily reproduced and shipped to temples. Isan then developed what later became known as the Balarama Mrdanga.

The Balarama Mrdangas are still existing. They are shaped just like a clay mrdanga, but are made of fiberglass. The heads of the drum are plastic and are tunable with a small Allan Key (supplied). The straps are adjustable. They're loud (Prabhupada liked that about them), and almost indestructable. The first Balarama Mrdangas were very heavy, but as time went by they began to make them lighter.

Along with the first shipment of Balarama Mrdangas came included "The Balarama Mrdanga Book" put together by Duryodhana-guru dasa, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada who was living in Los Angeles. Duryodhana-guru used an easy to understand system of mrdanga mantras to teach the mrdanga. Most of the mrdanga mantras in that book were fairly useless in terms of something you might want to play in the temple, but the system of the mantras used in the book was quite easy for Westerners to understand.

This Internet mrdanga course uses Duryodana-guru's mantra system as found in the Balarama Mrdanga Book. However, we do not use any of the mrdanga beats themselves found in that book. We use the beats originating from Krsna dasa Babaji taught to me by my mrdanga-guru, Sripati dasa.

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