One of the reasons why Shri Nathji liked the music of Sarod, probably is its origins to the Persian Rabab. An instrument which has long been an choice of Sufis and mystics. Sarod has descended from the Persian musical instrument called Rubab. Rubab is a similar instrument originating in Persia, Central Asia and Afghanistan. The name Sarod roughly translates to "beautiful sound" or "melody" in Persian.
The sarod is a stringed musical instrument, used mainly in Indian classical music. Along with the sitar, it is among the most popular and prominent instruments in Hindustani classical music. The sarod is known for a deep, weighty, introspective sound, in contrast with the sweet, overtone-rich texture of the sitar, with sympathetic strings that give it a resonant, reverberant quality. It is a fretless instrument able to produce the continuous slides between notes known as meend, which is important to Indian music. Historians that attributes its invention to the ancestors of the present-day sarod maestro, Amjad Ali Khan. Amjad Ali Khan’s ancestor Mohammad Hashmi Khan Bangash, a musician and horse trader, came to India with the Afghan rubab in the mid-18th century, and became a court musician to the Maharajah of Rewa (now in Madhya Pradesh). It was his descendants, notably his grandson Ghulam Ali Khan Bangash, a court musician in Gwalior, who changed the rubab into the sarod we know today. The sarod in its present form dates back to approximately 1820, when it started gaining recognition as a serious instrument in Rewa, Shahjahanpur, Gwalior and Lucknow. In the 20th century, the sarod received some finishing touches from the great musician Allauddin Khan.
The conventional sarod is a 17 to 25-stringed lute-like instrument. The lack of frets and the tension of the strings make the sarod a very demanding instrument to play, as the strings must be pressed hard against the fingerboard. Thus very few people have been able to learn and master this. The finest Sarods are made by Hemen Sen of Calcutta. Most of the well known players such as Amjad Ali Khan, Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, Brij Narayan, Alam Khan and many others play Hemen Instruments.
Trained as a musician and instrumentalist by his father, Allauddin Khan, Khan first came to America in 1955 on the invitation of violinist Yehudi Menuhin and later settled in California. Khan was nominated for five Grammy Awards and was accorded India's second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, in 1989. He has also won a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Arts's National Heritage Fellowship.
Of his training on the sarod, he wrote:
“If you practice for ten years, you may begin to please yourself, after 20 years you may become a performer and please the audience, after 30 years you may please even your guru, but you must practice for many more years before you finally become a true artist—then you may please even God.”
And if it was indeed him, whose performance Shri Nathji saw on television, then he was indeed able to please God.