Sri MANATUNGA (आचार्य श्री मानतुंग )
The Author of
स्त्रोत (Bhaktamar Stotra),
Acharya Sri Manatunga was a talented scholar, eminent missionary
and prodigious ascetic. Each and every word of Bhaktamara reveals his
enlightening devotion and infinite faith in the Lord Jina.
In the year 1100 AD there was a great king Bhoja in Ujjain city
of Malva. King Bhoja was a learned king of unsurpassed rank and was the
author himself of Sanskrit poetry. Great poet ‘Kalidas’ was one of the members of his assembly – Royal Court.
One Jain poet ‘Dhananjaya’ was also becoming famous those days in the city. One day King Bhoj called Dhananjaya in his royal court and get introduced with him and praised him for his poems
and wisdom. Shri Dhananjaya told the king very politely that his all wisdom and knowledge was due to his teacher
Acharya Mantunga – a Jain Muni , he said that all the knowledge is due to the blessings of Acharya Mantunga.
Digambar Jain Acharya Muni Manatunga
(आचार्य श्री मानतुंग )
After knowing about the praise worth Acharya Mantunga, King Bhoj desired to meet with Acharya. King Bhoj ordered his servants to bring Acharya Mantunga to his royal court with honor. At that time Acharya were staying at Bhojpur and doing Tapa (Penance) for self – realization – purification. Servants of King Bhoj reached there, prayed Acharya again
and again to go with them to meet their King
Bhoj. But ascetic saints have no purpose in meeting with King or any other persons.
The monk replied, "What I have to do at the royal place? Only those go
to the court who are either concerned with it or have committed an offence.
Then why should I go as I am an ascetic? So Acharya engrossed in deep Tapa or meditation.
Servants returned to King and told about their failure.
The King Bhoj became angry and he ordered to bring the Acharya forcefully in his royal court. Servants do the same and thus Acharya were brought before King
Bhoj. The king praised Acharya and requested to give some religious precepts to the audience present there. But up to that time looking unfavorable situations, Acharya decided to remain silent during such conditions. So all the prayers
and requests of King were all in vain. The King became angry and he ordered to his soldiers
to place the Acharya in prison. Thus Acharya Manatunga was put under arrest in fortyeight chambers under locks
In the prison Acharya Mantunga entered the heavenly realms of
the Lord Adinath and started the prayer of Bhagwan Adinath. He wrote in Sanskrit language a great poem the
Bhaktamar Stotra having 48 Stanza (Verse). The chants and prayers of
Manatunga were thus in full brim, flowing with the unbound energy of
chain-reaction. Due to the effect of Bhaktamar Stotra, Acharya Mantunga
no more remained imprisoned. He came out of the locks, and went out of the locks, and went straight out of the prison.
The guards awoke and saw this miracle, but thinking about the self-ignorance, he again closed
Acharya in prison and checked the locks firmly. But after sometime locks of prison again opened and Acharya were free again. Seeing this the
guards hurried to the king and told him about the event. King came there and he ordered the soldiers to tie Acharya firmly with strong chains and kept in the prison having 48 locks.
Acharya again recited Bhaktamar Stotra and all the 48 locks with chains broken. Acharya
automatically came out of prison. Looking this miracle,
the whole city assembled around the prison in agitation and admiration. The
king had to realize the power og Janism and surrendered completely to the
facts. King Bhoj felt down in the feet of Acharya, he pardoned for his mistake again and again. He
prayed, "O Excellence! You were constituted of as many ultimate
particles as they were full of the peaceful love. This is the the reason for
your unparallel and beautiful form in the whole universe."
After this, Acharya Mantunga entered the city of Dhara, due the effect of preaches
and Tapa of Mantunga, so many peoples accepted Jain Dharma. Later on Acharya Mantunga stayed at Bhojpur he practiced for penance
and meditation, tried to get rid of worldly affection
and aversion. At the end, he accepted ‘Sallekhana Vrit’ and give up his body doing Tapa. Shrine of Acharya Mantunga and his Siddha Shila
is also here in Bhojpur. A pair of footprints of Acharya Mantunga are installed on the shrine. At a distence of 13 km from Dhara, in the village
‘Ahu’, ruins of 48 pillars may be seen where Acharya were kept during prison.
स्त्रोत (Bhaktamar Stotra) is an unparallel lustrous
gem of devotional literature, an ageless panegyric. The “Bhaktamar stotra” is a poetry wrapped in devotion to Lord
Jina. It contains prayers of devotees who, surrendering themselves before God
appeal to Him to bring succour to them against many adversities and difficult
situations. In response, each verse is connected with a yantra which contains
the prescription guiding the devotee how to chant a mantra, how to prepare a
mystical diagram, the method of self preparation for recitation of the syllables of the riddhi. In the end it informs the devotees about the advantages which
will accrue after proper performance of the mantra. In brief, the mantras contain magical power and are a great solace to the devotee in trouble. Those
who have practiced them with due faith have experienced their gainful results.
Another attractive feature of this work is an anecdote attached to each mantra.
It contains an account of certain adverse incident in the life of devotee and
how he gets out of it successfully by reciting the mantra in the prescribed manner.
The Bhaktamar Stotra first verse -
युगादा- वालम्बनं भव-जले पततां
The “Bhaktamar Stotra” has been translated in many Indian languages. It has also been
translated into English , German and French. While its first English translation appeared in 1632, its German translation was done by Dr. Hermann Jacobi in 1976. The French translation is awaiting its publication. Many Europeon writers like Maxmuller, Keith,
Webber, Winternitz and Chalott Krause have eulogized the mystical verses of “Bhaktamar”.