For Shri Vinod Agarwal, “Naam Sankirtan” or “Bhajan Gayan” is not just singing or doing ‘Kirtan‘, rather it is an intense meditation of merging with the melodies of Shri Gurudev. It is an attempt to keep the holy stream of ‘Shri Harinaam Sankirtan’ flowing. His singing is a holy tribute to the sacred memory of his Gurudev.
Undoubtedly, Shri Vinod Aggarwal’s voice and style of singing is different and divine. It goes deep from ears to heart and from heart to soul. This has been gifted to him by his Satguru in ‘initiation’.
Hence, to understand the sweetness of voice and uniqueness of style of Shri Vinod Agarwal Ji, we shall have to know about his Gurudev Swami Mukund Hari Ji Maharaj and take a dip in holy stream of his Sankirtan.
In the world of Shri Harinam Sankirtan, Shri 1008 Swami Mukand Hari Ji Maharaj is famous as ‘Rasikan Ke Pran’ and ‘Sankirtan Samrat’. His divine and melodious voice touched the souls of millions.
Physically, Shri Mukund Hari ji was born on 11th May 1914 at Rama Mandi village of Bathinda Distt. (Punjab). His parents Pt. Piyare Lal and Smt. Narayani Devi named him ‘Rajinder’. From the early childhood, he had shown keen interest in music and singing. He used to lead school’s daily prayers. Headmaster of school was so impressed with his sweet voice that he pre-fixed ‘Koyal’ (Cuckoo) with his name and thus Rajinder became famous as ‘Rajinder Kokil’.
Since, father Pyare Lal ji was a Patwari (Village land record keeper) in village Talwandi Sabo, he secured the same job for his son ‘Rajinder’ too. Along with his professional duties he used to sing ‘Shabads’ at Talwandi Sabo Gurudwara. His melodious voice started attracting large number of Gurubani listeners.
But, ‘Rajinder Kokil’ was receiving intense spiritual calls from his love for Lord Krishna. Finally, in 1934, he left his job and family bondages and came in the fold of ‘Swami Atam Hari Ji’ – a saint of Nirmala traditions settled at Bathinda. ‘Swami Atam Hari’ Ji was also famous as “Gufawale Sant”. Swami Atam Hari Ji accepted Rajinder Kokil to his fold and gave him new name – ‘Mukund Hari’.
Though, after initiation ‘Mukund Hari’ Ji went to Haridwar and received deep spiritual knowledge of Srimad Bhagwad Mahapuran, Sri Ram Charitmanas, Vairagyashtak and Bhagwad Gita etc. He learnt Sanskrit from Pt. Ghasi Ram Ji too. But his heart was yearning for Bhakti & Bhajan of Lord Krishna. He preferred the path followed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Raskhan, Chandidas and Mirabai.
As per Lord’s plans, when Sri Atam Hari Ji left this world, ‘Sri Mukund Hari’ succeeded him as his spiritual successor. But Sri Mukund Hari ji could not bear the pain of Guru’s separation. He went into long spiritual isolation and ‘sankirtan mediation’ in the cave of Ashram. After attaining the ultimate heights of Sangeet Sadhna, one day he left for Vrindavan, the holy land of lord Krishna and his devotees. In Vrindavan he went to deep in meditation under a Neem tree of ‘Sri Pramhans Ashram’. His love and devotion for Lord Krishna and Sri Radha Rani slowly found the expression of sweet and touching Bhajans. Lakhs of devotees got Naam Sankirtan initiation from him. Sri Hari Nikung Ashram was founded at Vrindavan and the ‘Gufuwali Kutia’ of Bathinda too took the form of ‘Sri Krishan Prem Sarovar’. With the organization of ‘Sri Hari Naam Sankirtan Mahamandal’, many cities started holding Sankirtan Sammelans. His devotes founded many Sankirtan Mandals in major cities of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Capitals like Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla and Mumbai. Collection of Bhajans namely ‘Sri Hari Doha Madhuri’, ‘Shyma Virhani’, ‘Poonam’, ‘Rasik Madhuri’ etc. were published. Spiritual and Religious magazines like ‘Hari Mahima’ and ‘Ishwar Prapti’, too were published regularly to spread the “Bhakti”, and “Sankirtan Sandesh” of Swami Mukund Hari Ji.
Swami Ji’s ‘Bhakti and Bhajan’ method was very simple and touching. He preached simple and devoted path of Surrender and Sankirtan. As ‘Banwari Jogan’ he used to call his Shyama-Syam with pain of heart. He wrote and sang Bhajans and ‘Gathas’ with ‘Gopi Bhawa’. He took the support of stories of Dhanna Jatt, Sadna Kasai, Kubja Mai, Baiju Bhanwara and Bhakatmal. His devotees were the lovers of dance and music, who were mad for his melodious voice and passionate singing. His devotional singing used to continue throughout the whole nights.
In Vrindavan – Bagh Bundela, Bankhandi Ashram, Anoopyati Ashram, Anand Mai Ashram and Phogla Ashram were the main centres of his Sankirtan congregations from 1950s to late 1980s. He showered his divine ‘Sankirtan-Ras’ on the lands of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Maharshtra and Delhi. And in recognition of his heights of devotional singing the saints and Gurus of that period awarded him the honour of ‘Sankirtan Samrat’. Undoubtedly, fortunate were those who got chance to listen to his divine voice.
Infact, Swami Mukund Hari Ji was from the class of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Hari Das Vyas, Vilbamangal (Surdas Ji), Mira Bai, Rani Ratnawali, Bhagat Himmat Dass, Bhagat Giridhar, Bhagt Paryag Das, Bhagat Ravi Das, Bhagt Raskhan, Madhu Goswami etc.
No doubt, the worldly journey of ‘Sankirtan Samrat Swami Mukund Hari Ji’ came to an end on 29th May 1986, when he left his mortal body and merged in the feet of Sri Banke Bihari Ji, but his melodious voice through Shri Vinod Aggarwal’s voice is showering divine bliss on the lovers of ‘Naam Sankirtan’. Whenever and wherever people would listen to Shri Vinod Aggarwal Ji’s Sankirtan, they would note the invisible presence of his Satguru Swami Mukund Hari Ji and his divine grace.