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Bhaktambar Stotra: 22 ►WEAR THE ROSARY OF VIRTUES

Published: 11.12.2019

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Marta-dvipendra-mriga-raaja-davaa-nalaahi, Sangmama-vaaridhi-mahodarwbandha-nottham |
Tasyaa-shunaasha-mupayaatibhayambhiyeva, Yas-taavakamstava-mimammatimaana-dheete ||

The one who recites this hymn soon becomes free of fears of mad elephants, ferocious lions, forest-fires, snakes, oceans, ascites and bondage.

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Stotra-srajamtavajinendra! gunair-nibaddhaam, Bhaktyaamayaaruchira-varna-vichitra-pushpaam |
Dhattejanoyaihakantha-gataa-majasram, Tam naam-tunga-mavashasamupaitilakshmeehi ||

O Jinendra! With devotion, I (Maantung) have made up this rosary-like panegyric of your virtues. I have decorated it with variegated flowers of charming colors (alphabets). The devotee who always wears it in the neck attracts the goddess of wealth and attracts highest honor.

The festival of Akshay Tritiya had begun smoothly with a prayer to Lord Rishabh. This three-day program is associated with him. The sermons on Bhahtamar had been ongoing for the last three years. It started in Delhi in 1994 and today there is an exposition on the last stanza. There are two traditions followed for Bhaktamar- one with forty-four shlokas and the other with forty-eight shlokas. I followed the former and completed the exposition in three years.

In the last shlok of his prayer to Lord Rishabh, Acharya Maantung has showed us the path to fearlessness. Two kinds of fear affect a person - real fear and imaginary fear. Clearly, if we can eliminate imaginary fear, fifty percent of our problems will be taken care of. But people are known to follow and live their lives as per their figment of imagination. Imagination is a strange phenomenon, sometimes it gives us happiness and other times lead to sorrow. The reasons for both joy and sorrow are imagination and dreams. What we imagine during the day translates into dreams at night. Dreams are sometimes more powerful as they are vivid.

A beggar saw in his dream — ’I am the king and sleeping in my palace. The queens are massaging my feet.’ He felt great pleasure. As soon as he woke, his dream world was shattered. People feel joy and sorrow even in their imagination.

There is a popular story of two passengers traveling by train. The first passenger was feeling warm and got up and opened the window. The second passenger saw that and immediately started to feel cold and went and shut the window. This irritated the first passenger, who, again got up and opened the window. Now the second passenger got offended and took it personally and went and shut the window. This drama continued for a while which annoyed the other passengers. In the meantime, the train inspector arrived. When he saw this, he was amused. He looked at both the passengers and showed them that the window they were opening and shutting had no glass pane! It only had a wooden frame, hence there was no question of feeling hot or cold. Obviously, what the passengers felt was completely from their imagination with no real foundation. They were unnecessarily creating a ruckus.

Imaginations are game played by the mind, but fears are real. Acharya Maantung has described eight causes of fear which is summed up in the below shlok

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Marta-dvipendra-mriga-raaja-davaa-nalaahi, Sangmama-vaaridhi-mahodarwbandha-nottham |
Tasyaa-shunaasha-mupayaatibhayambhiyeva, Yas-taavakamstava-mimammatimaana-dheete ||

The eight types of fear are -

  1. Fear of elephant
  2. Fear of lion
  3. Fear of forest fire
  4. Fear of snake
  5. Fear of war
  6. Fear of ocean
  7. Fear of jalodar (ascites)
  8. Fear of bondage

In conclusion to the above shlok, Acharya Maantung exclaims - 'Fear is destroyed in an instant when one prays to Adinath.'

He has expressed a beautiful thought here - how can fear disappear? Fear experiences fear and disappear! This profound statement says that fear itself will get scared by those who pray to the Lord. That aspect which scares everyone gets scared from the stuti of the Lord. Devotees who chant prayers of the Lord with deep concentration, experience great bravery as they are released from fear.

There is a method to recite the hymns. The desired results cannot be realized just by reciting the words without understanding the meaning and establishment of oneness with that meaning. We must first know the meaning of the recitations. Let us understand this matter with an example. A child is asked to bring a glass. If he does not know the meaning of ‘glass’, he will not follow the instruction. If we say — ’udakama anay’ (Bring water) to a person who communicates in a foreign language they will not respond because they do not understand the meaning of those words.

Proper pronunciation of the words, knowledge of the meaning and establishment of oneness (deep contemplation) with the recitation all three are important for success.

Two people were fighting. One was saying ‘water-water’ and the other said ’paani-paani’. And there was a dispute because both did not understand each other’s language, not knowing that ‘water’ and ’paani' meant the same. If we do not understand the meaning of the words, it becomes difficult to get the desired results. The first condition is to understand the meaning of the word. After understanding the meaning, one must establish oneness with it. If a man hears the words ’Bring a glass,’ understands the  meaning, but does not get up  and pick up the glass, then  the glass will not walk for  itself. If they want the glass, he must establish contact with it. Proper pronunciation of the words, knowledge of the meaning and establishment of oneness (deep contemplation) with the recitation — all three are important for success.

A wise man, who contemplates instead of just listening or reading, will free him from the listed eight fears. This is the mantra for fearlessness.

Many people have come to me and said that everything scares them. They feel fear day and night. Even when the sun is shining bright they are scared. They are afraid not just when alone, but also when they are amongst people. It is difficult to comprehend the emotion of fear. If there is a flaw in the psychic system, the feeling of fear keeps recurring. In such a situation, fear can be eradicated, and one can become fearless by reciting the shlokas composed by Acharya Maantung. The biggest fear is non-vigilance (pramad) and the greatest state of fearlessness is vigilance (apramad) and awareness.

The formula of spiritual practice as given by Lord Mahaveer is - apramad. No fear can trouble the one who is aware. Awareness means fearlessness and remissness means fear. Fear is born of remissness and fearlessness is born of awareness. Spiritual awareness is the greatest practice for fearlessness.

Acharya Maantung, through the shlokas, has shown the path to awareness. These shlokas are considered to be equivalent to beej mantras (seed mantra) and are thus important. If these are practicedand recited properly one can free themselves from not just these eight fears, but all other fears too.

The Rosary of Respect

Acharya Maantung has completed this eulogy with the following shlok-

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Stotra-srajamtavajinendra! gunair-nibaddhaam, Bhaktyaamayaaruchira-varna-vichitra-pushpaam |
Dhattejanoyaihakantha-gataa-majasram, Tam naam-tunga-mavashasamupaitilakshmeehi ||

Acharya Maantung concludes the Bhaktamar by using his own name "Maantung" in a different context. Here "Maantung" means -one who gains high respect. Even ‘Lakshmi’ looks out for one who has earned the pinnacle of respect. They earn prosperity because ‘Lakshmi’ comes to them not by invitation but by its own accord. One who is Maantung, spiritual prosperity chooses to stay with them. Such devotees wear a rosary that is not made of flowers, but of virtues.

How is a rosary of virtues created? Acharya Maantung says - ’Lord! I have made this rosary of your prayer I sang in your praise, composed these forty-four shlokas and with these shlokas as beads; I have strung together this rosary.’

A rosary has thread. A thread is required to keep the beads together. The virtues of Veetarag are the required thread in this case. The Sanskrit term "guna" holds two meaning - specific qualities and thread. Both meanings are applicable here. In this world, the supreme person in all respects is Veetarag. Nobody is higher than Veetarag. When the state of Veetaragata is attained no one remains higher or lower; smaller or bigger, as it has no significance. Everyone is at par though colloquially it is said that nobody is higher than Veetarag. No one in the world is happier than him. No one in this world is more fearless than him. No one is more stress-free than him, He is neither troubled by insomnia nor by excessive sleep disorder. He is neither bothered by imaginary fear nor by real fear. He has no sorrow, and no hostility. He has neither attachment nor hatred for anyone. Free from all this chaos, he reaches the highest level of consciousness.

Acharya explains, - 'I have taken virtues of Veetaragata as my thread and made a rosary. I have not made this rosary with the goal of doing business or as a source of earning money. I have created it with great bhakti (devotion). Without devotion, there is no faith and there is no pleasure.’

The mysticism in shraddha and bhakti (faith and devotion) can never be found in any other business. A person does his work with great faith and devotion. In doing so, he sacrifices everything. The work performed by such a person cannot be compared with others. Both, the chef and a wife, cook food. There is a huge difference in the food prepared by both. Chef prepares food as a part of his job. Wife cooks for her husband with love. There is a difference if one can distinguish the finer details. Work done with shraddha and bhakti is different from the work done as a part of business.

Acharya Maantung says — ‘This garland of stuti has various types of flowers. These flowers have beautiful colors. Here the word "ruchir-varna” has two meanings — beautiful colors and beautiful letters of alphabets. I have used such an assortment of akshar (alphabetical letters that never destroy) to compose this garland that it has become so beautiful.' Aksharsare of two types — simple and composite; monosyllabic and polysyllabic. Motley of alphabets has exquisitely come together to form this beautiful Bhaktamar. Each letter of alphabets of this stotra has become a mantra. This is why the Bhaktamar stotra is powerful. The recitation of this stotra produces frequencies that generate powerful vibrations, giving us the positive energy to lead a peaceful life.

Acharya Maantung in concluding remarks of the Bhaktamar stresses that — ’One, who always wears the garland that I have made with these beautiful variegated flowers of alphabets and thread of virtues in the form of a eulogy, will always have spiritual prosperity.’

With this quintessence, Acharya Maantung completes his eulogy. He wishes well for everyone — this garland can be worn by everyone. It can be worn irrespective of time — day and night, irrespective of place - forest, village, etc. and irrespective of gender - male and female. We must wear this garland whether or not we wear any other necklace. One who wears this rosary truly becomes fortunate and wealthy. The only condition of wearing this rosary is to have deep faith and devotion. Success is assured to the one who wears this garland with intense faith.

Sources

Title:  Bhaktambar Stotra
Author:  Acharya Mahapragna
Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 
2019
Digital Publishing: 
Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Adinath
  3. Akshay Tritiya
  4. Bhaktamar Stotra
  5. Bhakti
  6. Concentration
  7. Consciousness
  8. Contemplation
  9. Delhi
  10. Fear
  11. Fearlessness
  12. Guna
  13. Jinendra
  14. Lakshmi
  15. Mahaveer
  16. Mantra
  17. Pramad
  18. Rishabh
  19. Sanskrit
  20. Shlok
  21. Shlokas
  22. Shraddha
  23. Stuti
  24. Veetarag
  25. Veetaragata
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