- New Delhi || eRadioIndia
If someone told us one year ago that we would be conducting Bhaktamar Stotra related webinars and interacting with experts in the field of drugless therapy from all around the world, we would never have believed you. We, being my husband, family and I, have always been religious but not to that level. However, an unfortunate medical emergency, which occured in 2019, greatly affected us and re-shaped our views of life, religion, and spirituality.
Up to that point, we knew of the Bhaktamar Stotra but we did not know how to pronounce it and neither did we know what any of the shlokas meant. Then, a chance encounter with Drs. Pradeep and Priyya Jain, while trying to contact Dr. Manju Jain, started us on this journey. Shortly after we were able to be connected with Dr. Manju Jain herself, and that changed our lives completely.
From that point on, we became immersed in the Bhaktamar Stotra and started chanting daily. Along with that, we started a daily prayer program which drew in people, including some non-Jains, who were looking for healing and wellness while dealing with a similar situation as us. The non-Jains in particular were very impressed with our devotion and success and tried to emulate it by chanting and even giving up non-vegetarian foods.
As things were starting to get back to normal after a tumultuous 2019, COVID-19 started affecting people all over the world. Somehow, through the grace of God, we were tasked with hosting a JITO event over Zoom and we’re not sure how it happened, but something clicked there between us and Dr. Manju Jain.
She eventually came up with an idea: an 8-day global Bhaktamar Stotra event that would teach everyone the power and significance of these 48 magical Stotras. Although we had no idea of what we were doing or the scope of the request, we agreed to host these workshops.
We can’t say that we benefited from COVID-19 as that would tarnish the memory of those that have lost their lives or family members to this horrible disease. But because of lockdowns and quarantines, hosting online seminars (or webinars) became a very common practice. So much so that we created a Zoom account and eventually upgraded it when we quickly realized the free tier would not be enough for us.
Thus began our 8-day Foundation Level-1 Bhaktamar Stotra Series wherein each session was 180 minutes and covered the significance of the 48 Stotras. We invited scholars, healers, and those with first-hand experience to talk, teach, and make people generally aware of the usefulness of the Bhaktamar Stotra.
However, towards the end of the 8th-day, attendees showed interest in continuing the learning process and repeatedly requested us to continue the program as they were benefiting in numerous positive ways. For example, one young participant was having suicidal thoughts for some time. However, after listening to the first 8 classes, he told us for the first-time in a long-time, he did not have any thoughts of committing suicide.
People wanted more and we continued offering daily 180 minutes of Session for the Foundation Level-1 Bhaktamar Stotra Series and ended with the 23 sessions on May 20th!!
To this day, it still amazes us how we joined this pious campaign. Ultimately we thank God and the Universe for putting us on this path and connecting us with these amazing people. In addition to the 3 mentioned above, the following people participated in this series: Dr. Amreesh Jain, Mr. Jigar H. Mehtalia, Dr. Archana Jain, Mr. Manoj Jain, Mr. Anand Jain, Dr. Jeevan Lal Jain, Dr. Anish Jain, Dr. Anita Agarkar, Ms. Arohi Agarkar, Ms. Rageshree Agarkar, Dr. Rita Mahajan, Mr. Jaiwin Jain, Om Shanti (Tej Pal Ji), Ms. Neha Modasiya, Mr. Zubin Vevaina, Dr. Aparna Kale Jain, Dr. Charu Jain, Ms. Priyanka Jain, Ms. Shika Jain, Ms. Sameeksha Jain, and many others.
Following the success of this initial endeavor, we wanted to keep the knowledge and learning process continuing. After some more thinking, we came up with an educational series geared towards kids and youths across North America and Bharat. Starting May 16th, with Mr. Siddharth Jain, we started the Kids and Youth Bhaktamar Stotra Learning series. This program, taught by Ms. Aashi Jain, and Dr. Nilam Shah, was designed to reach a young audience and start them on the significance of the Bhaktamar Stotra and learn the pronunciation, meaning, and related stories of each Stotra.
We are now 26 sessions in and the work the kids and youth are doing is amazing. Many have taken the lessons to heart and are writing the shlokas in Sanskrit and English, drawing the shlokas, reciting them from memory, and even performing water experiments. Their dedication and desire to learn is truly humbling.
We quickly followed this class with a similar class geared towards Adults: Global Bhaktamar Stotra Learning Series. This is Foundation Level-2 and its goal was to educate adults on the theory and practical aspects of the Bhaktamar Stotra. This immersive curriculum covered all 48 shlokas, their pronunciation, meaning, riddhis, mantras, and related stories. Adults from all over the world participated in the class that was led by Dr. Anita Agarkar, Ms. Neha Modasiya and Dr. Charu Jain. We started this series on May 23 and hosted 24 sessions that ended on August 8. The next day we held a Vidhan in celebration of completing this amazingly successful program.
Our Daily Chanting Session also grew during this time. What started as a WhatsApp session among 3 families, soon grew into a Zoom session with 10, then 20, then 40, and currently over 70 participants, through word-of-mouth and an announcement from Dr. Manju Jain in one of the webinars. We hosted a Bhaktamar Stotra Vidhan post completion of the 21-days of Daily Chanting Session, a first for many of our attendees. This gave each attendee an exposure to the practical training and chanting of Vidhan that included symbols, shlokas, riddhis, mantras, arghs, and ended with a jai-mala. This particular 21-day session attracted over 150 people daily and many of those people did a lot of tapasya (penance) during this time.
Like we said before, this path that our lives have taken in respect to the Bhaktamar Stotra is remarkable and wholly unexpected. We feel that at times we are on a boat and some cosmic energy from the universe is just pushing us along from task to task. We feel blessed to be given this unique responsibility and recognize the trust put into us by so many learned healers, especially Dr. Manju Jain. Our goal is to continue doing everything we can to spread the message of Shri Acharya Manatunga Ji and the vast power of the Bhaktamar Stotra worldwide and be a tool to help people.
Adinath Bhagwan Ji Ki Jai! Mantunga Suri Maharaj Ji Ki Jai! Bhaktamar Stotra Ji Ki Jai! Jain Dharam Ki Jai!
Following additional resources were made available to each participant to increase their learning in their spare time and provide recorded access any session missed by them.
- http://www.drmanjujain25.com/event-recordings.html (23 sessions: April 27 to May 20)
- www.drmanjujain25.com/adults.html (24 sessions of Adults from May 23 to Aug 8)
- www.drmanjujain25.com/kids.html (Sessions of Kids/Youth from May 16 to-date)
- http://www.drmanjujain25.com/e-book.html (E-Book of Bhaktamar Mantras)
- http://www.drmanjujain25.com/shlokas.html (48 Stotras, Riddhi & Mantras)
- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wishCraft.bhaktamarstotra&hl=en_US Bhaktamar App Android version
- Other websites and links
What is Bhaktamar Stotra? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhaktamara_Stotra)
Bhaktamar Stotra is a famous Jain Sanskrit prayer. It was composed by Acharya Manatunga (seventh century CE). The name Bhaktamara comes from a combination of two Sanskrit names, “Bhakta” (Devotee) and “Amar” (Immortal).
The prayer praises Bhagwan Rishabhanatha (a.k.a. Bhagwan Adinath), the first Tirthankara of Jainism in this time cycle. There are forty-eight Stotras (shlokas/verses/stanzas) in total. Every Stotra (prayer) has four parts and every part has 14 letters. The last Stotra gives the name of the author Acharya Manatunga Ji. Bhaktamar Stotras have been recited, and sung as a stavan (hymn), somewhat interchangeably.
It is said that King Bhoj had chained and imprisoned the Acharya out of curiosity to witness some miracle. He was kept in a dark cell. It was possible to come out of the cell only after crossing 48 doors. Each door was chained and locked. He was told by the King, if he had enough faith in Lord Adinath then he should use his power of faith to come out of it.
The Acharya remained in meditation for three days and on the fourth morning composed this panegyric in honour of Lord Adinath. The moment he chanted the first couplet the chains and shackles of the first door were gone. Likewise he chanted 48 couplets and all the 48 doors opened one by one. After chanting 48 couplets he walked out of the prison as a free man. The incident astounded the king. He became a staunch devotee of the Acharya and Lord Adinath. Indeed, miracles have tremendous influence.
What is Bhaktamar Stotra Vidhan?
Bhaktamar Stotra Vidhan is simply a puja (akin to a graduation ceremony) performed after chanting the 48 Stotras over either 7-days, 21-days or 48-days. The Vidhan vidhi (process) includes 48 offerings in either a circular format or atop a Swastik.
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