the 11th Century There was a great king Bhoja in the Ujjain city of
Malva. King Bhoja was a learned king and was the author himself of
sanskrit poetry. Great poet Kalidas, the author of Megdoot
was also one of the members of his 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
Manatunga a great digambar 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 Bhoja ordered his servants to bring Acharya Mantunga to his royal court with honor.
When the messengers of King Bhoja approached Acharya Manatunga and requested to Acharya to go with them
to meet their King Bhoja. But ascetic saints have no purpose in meeting with King or any other persons. So Acharya gave no reply to
messengers and engrossed in deep meditation. Servants returned to King and told about their failure.
King Bhoja became angry and he ordered to bring the Acharya forcefully in his royal court.
Thus Acharya were brought forcefully before King Bhoja. 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.
As all the requests of King were all in vain, so King became angry and he ordered to his soldiers to place the Acharya in
prison. Thus Acharya were placed in
prison the King put him into prison of 48 cells and chained him with 48 locks.
In the prison Acharya Mantunga started the prayer of Bhagwan Adinath
, In prison he wrote in Sanskrit language a great poem – the ‘Bhaktamar Stotra’ having 48
Verse. Due to the effect of Bhaktamar Stotra, Acharya Mantunga automatically came out of prison. The
guards 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, King Bhoja felt down in the feet of
Acharya, he pardoned for his mistake again and again.
The King had to realize the power of Janism and he completely
surrendered to Acharya Mantunga greatness. He prayed, "O Execellence ! your greatness is
greater than that of the sun, I bow to you.
Although the devotee is always absorbed in the devotion
of his lord, whenever he is in some trouble he is surrounded by
chaotic conditions. His hearts sinks into the virtous depths of his
lord. And he gets emancipation through his devotion. This happened
when the preceptor Manatunga was kept in prison under 48 locls by
the king Bhoja. But he entered the heavenly relams of Lord
Adinatha and he came out of the prison.
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.
Many Europeon writers like Maxmuller, Keith, Webber,Winternitz and Chalott Krause have eulogised the
mystical verses of “Bhaktamar”. Each verse of Bhaktamar Stotra
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.