A Story of Acharya Manatunga

Published: 30.10.2010
Updated: 30.07.2015

A Story of Acharya Manatunga

The Author of  भक्तामर स्त्रोत (Bhaktamar Stotra), Acharya 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.

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.

Digambar Jain Acharya Muni Manatunga (आचार्य श्री मानतुंग) writing the Bhaktamar Stotra (भक्तामर स्त्रोत).

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 and chains.

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 people 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.

भक्तामर 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” has been translated in many Indian languages. It has also been translated into English, German and French. While its first English translation appeared in 1932, its German translation was done by Dr. Hermann Jacobi in 1876. The French translation is awaiting its publication. Many European writers like Max Müller, Moritz Winternitz and Charlotte Krause have eulogized the mystical verses of “Bhaktamar”.   

The Bhaktamar Stotra (first verse)

भक्तामर-प्रणत-मौलि-मणि-प्रभाणा   मुघोतकं दलित-पाप-तमो-वितानम्।
सम्यक्-प्रणम्य जिन-पाद-युगं   युगादा   वालम्बनं भव-जले पततां   जनानाम्।१।

bhaktamara-pranata-maulimani-prabhana           mudyotakam dalita-papa-tamovitanam |
samyak pranamya jina padayugam yugada       valambanam bhavajale patatam jananam ||1||

I bow to Thee, O Lord Adinath
Teacher Supreme Guide of the Path
of Dharma Eternal Source Divine
The Purusha first Saviour Benign
Crowns place celestials on Thy feet
Delusions they remove, see vision sweet
Worshipping Thy feet ends transmigration
With body, mind, speech concentration.


Compiled by PK


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          Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
          1. A Story of Acharya Manatunga
          2. Acharya
          3. Acharya Manatunga
          4. Adinath
          5. Bhaktamar Stotra
          6. Bhojpur
          7. Body
          8. Concentration
          9. Dharma
          10. Digambar
          11. Hermann Jacobi
          12. Jacobi
          13. Jain Dharma
          14. Jina
          15. Manatunga
          16. Mantra
          17. Max Müller
          18. Meditation
          19. Muni
          20. PK
          21. Riddhi
          22. Sallekhana
          23. Sanskrit
          24. Siddha
          25. Tapa
          26. Ujjain
          27. Winternitz
          28. Yantra
          29. आचार्य
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