Varanasi: A young Sarod player here has embarked on a Vedic `vrat' (resolve) to pray for the life and health of bed-ridden shehnai legend Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan.

Vishal Maharaj (20), the son of famous Sarod exponent Vikash Maharaj, has taken recourse to the `life-saving' `Mahamrityunjaya Mantra' to pray for the 91-year-old ailing Shehnai legend.

"Khan Sahib is a national jewel, whose health is vital to nation and what better way to pray for his healthy life than banking on the power of the Mantra supposed to possess death-conquering power," Vishal said at his Piplani Katra residence on Monday.

Attired in yellow ritual robes, Vishal has embarked on the resolve of chanting the mantra 2.25 lakh times in front of the portrait of the shehnai wizard.

Interestingly, the portrait too is the coloured-pencil creation of the young Sarod player, who is the grand son of Padma Vibhushan tabla maestro Kishan Maharaj.

"My resolve will provide fresh breath of life to Khan Sahib, whose presence is vital for Indian classical music," maintained the musician, who has enthralled not only national audience with silken strums on Sarod, but also aficionados abroad.

The young musician feels Vedas form the basis of Indian classical music as all `Sangit Swars' are based on Vedic mantras.

"My resolve is the reflection of an artist's belief of curing the ill-health of a musical luminary with the genesis of classical music," said Vishal, who has set a deadline of two and a half months to complete his `vrat' composed of 2,000 mantras daily. -- UNI