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BHAKTAMAR SERIES OF PAINTINGS

"BHAKTAMARSTOTRA" is a hymn in praise of Lord Rishbhdev, the first of the twenty four Jain Teerthankars. Its author is Shree Manthungacharya, a Saint-Poet who is reputed to have flourished in the haleyon days of king Vriddha Bhoj of the city of Ujjayini in the region of Avanti in central India, during the tenth century of the common era.

In this famous hymn, there is sweet combination of high poetic vision and deep spiritualism. It is a belief among the pious jains that its racitation can save a devotee from worldly woes. The hymn has forty four stanzas. The racitation of each one cuts bondages one by one till a person is spiritually redeemed. This was shown as a miracle in the times of Vriddh Bhoj. The pions Shree Mantungacharya was tied with forty two iron chains and was locked in a lonely room. By the prowers of this hymn the chains were snapped one by one and he was free. This Acharya is reported to be the contemparary of the Sanskrit Poet Mayur & his son-in-law Ban the poet who wrote the famous sanskrit novel called Kadambari. The Bhaktamarstotra is in praise of Lord Rishbh dev, Mayur's Shurya-shataka is in praise of Lord Surya and Ban Bhatt wrote Chandi-Shatake in praise of Mother Goddess.

Sumant Shah in his famous series of paintings has successfully incarnated the spiritual force of sanskrit hymn in visual images.



I compose this panegyric with the belief that, through composed by an ignorant like me, it will certainly please noble people due to your divine influence. Indeed, when on lotus leaves, dew drops gleam like pearls, presenting a pleasant sight.

O Lord of the three realms ! Surpassing the glow of the full moon, your infinite virtues are radiating througout the universe-even beyond the three realms; the hymns in praise of your virtues can be heard everywhere throughout the universe. Indeed, who can curb the freedom of movement of devotees of the only omnipotent like you? (certainly no one is capable of.)

O Lord ! The pure, inceassant and complete knowledge that you have, cannot be found in any other deity in this world. Indeed, the lusture and light of priceless gems can hardly be seen in the glass pieces glittering in a beam of light.

O Unique One ! Numerous stars and planets can be seen in all directions but the sun rises only in the East. Similarly innumerable women give birth to sons but an illustrious son like you was born only to one mother; you are unique.


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