The Author of भक्तामर स्त्रोत (Bhaktamar Stotra), Acharya Sri 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.
Digambar Jain Acharya Muni Manatunga
(आचार्य श्री मानतुंग )
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.
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 forty-eight 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 of 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."