Staff, ScepterSkt., danda
Tib., ber-ka, dByug-pa, hprul-gyis
Many of the various staffs, sticks, and scepters occurring in depictions of Indo-Tibetan deities are often simply named danda, a term that is rather ambivalent; i.e. not discriminating between the specific forms, shapes and symbolism associated with this attribute. Although usually made from wood, a danda is sometimes made from human bone. Sometimes, it is topped by a human skull, at other times by a vajra; in some cases by both.
The following table attempts to make things more clear and it also shows that some staffs are used as scepter, i.e. symbolic in nature, whereas others are a form of weapon comparable to the gada or club.
|staff topped by a dorje||vajradanda||rdo-rje hprul-gyis|
|command staff topped with half a dorje and a skull||bdud-kyi khram-shing|
|wooden staff, weapon tipped with symbolic flames||bseg-shing|
|symmetrical staff usually held cradled across the forearms (especially Hayagriva)||hprul-gyis|
|bone-staff, perhaps human, frequently held by Shiva||asthi|
|staff used as magical weapon by Brahma||brahmadanda|
|hooked shepherd's staff of Krishna||kunil|
|short staff surmounted by peacock feathers||shikadanda|
|short staff topped by a trident||tridanda||srid-pa'i ldem-shing|
See also Khakkhara, Khatvanga