- Alastair Dick
Sanskrit term that appears in the earlier Vedic literature of India (Ṛg- and Atharvaveda, c1000 bce). It has been translated by Indologists as ‘lute’, but without justification; it might have been a musical bow played by scratching and resonated by a bottle-gourd or a pot (a later available meaning of karkarí etc., as well as of gārgara) with a skin, probably of lizard, stretched over it and the vessel embedded in the earth, ‘lest the wind stir it up’. It could well thus be a transitional stage between a ground harp (cf the bhūmidundubhi) and the bow harp. Its half-buried vessel is compared with a nest, and the deep sound to the flying up (from the nest) of the sacrifice-bird. It was played in association with the āghāṭá by the Apsaras nymphs in the Atharvaveda, and in later texts (Śrautasūtra, called ghā...