Origin

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Bhadrabahu and Varahmihir were two Brahmin brothers. Their father was an official priest in the king’s palace. Due to their association with a Jain monk these two brothers were highly influenced by the principles of Jainism. This guidance and inspiration drew them closer to renunciation and they accepted sainthood. They became Jain Monks. Both the brothers were very intelligent and deep study helped them gain knowledge on various subjects. In depth study of the Aagams made them attain Inner Knowledge. Both the brothers studied Aagam at the same pace, but only Bhadrabahu swami could grasp its essence because of the gentleness of his heart and the reverence he had for His Guru. Varahmihir Swami failed to do so, because of the dryness and rigidity of his heart. As a result, Bhadrabahu Swami was conferred the position of “Acharya” (leader).Unable to attain this position and stature, Varahmihir Swami developed enmity and jealousy towards Bhadrabahu Swami. His hatred and disgust knew no bounds and he became anti-communal and anti-religion. He developed hatred for Jainism and quit sainthood. He was very proficient in astrology so he practiced astrology to earn his living. With the knowledge of Nimittshastra, he used to predict the past, present and future. He was thus appointed as a royal priest by the king and was given shelter in the palace.

A few days passed. At that time the queen gave birth to a son. People in the kingdom and the palace were overjoyed and extremely happy. Varahmihir prepared the horoscope of the newly born prince and predicted his life to be 100 years. People of the kingdom visited the prince, to shower their blessings on the new born prince and so did all the religious leaders of different religious groups. Bhadrabahu Swami had arrived in the kingdom along with his disciples. However, he did not arrive to bless the prince. Varahmihir noted his absence and quickly pointed out to the king.”All the religious monks residing in our kingdom have paid a visit to bless our charming prince, but the head priest of the Jain sect, Bhadrabahu Swami has refrained from coming. This indicates that he does not desire the well being of our prince and the kingdom.” The king too felt that Bhadrabahu Swami’s absence was a punishable offence. However, the king was just. He thought that it would be wise to first know the reason for his absence, before punishing him. So he sent his minister to meet the Jain Acharya. When the minister inquired the reason for not visiting the prince, Bhadrabahu Swami politely replied, “We desire the well-being of all the living beings on this earth. Hence there is no question of any ill-feeling towards our prince or the kingdom. However, how can I bless the prince who is going to die after 7 days?”

With the help of his deep inner knowledge, he had foreseen the trouble that was to befall on the prince. He predicted the trouble and told the minister that, “On the 7th day from today, the prince will be killed by a cat.” The minister quickly returned to the palace and narrated the prediction to the king. On listening to Bhadrabahu Swami’s prophecy, the king was heartbroken. He started thinking… “Varahmihir has predicted that the prince will live for 100 years. This Jain Acharya is truly our ill-wisher. His prophecy is also negative. He definitely deserves to be punished. However, since it is the question of only 7days, let me wait and watch. After 7 days, I will surely punish him.” To save the life of the prince the king left no stones unturned. To prove Bhadrabahu Swami’s prediction wrong, the king ordered to throw every cat and kitten out of the kingdom. This task was completed within the next 5-6 days. The 7th day arrived. By now, the king was confident that no one could harm his son because there were no cats or kittens in his Kingdom. In the morning, after bathing and dressing up the prince, the maid was carrying him in her arms and taking him to another room. Suddenly an iron piece fell on the head of the prince and he died on the spot.

The king and his family were in a state of shock. They received a huge blow. However, the king realized that Bhadrabahu Swami’s prediction was indeed true! However, no cat was involved in this incident. Hence, he sent his minister to clarify the matter. Swami said, “The iron slab was a cat shaped iron piece!” On examining the iron piece, everyone realized that what Bhadrabahu Swami said was indeed true. This incident increased the respect of the Swami in the King’s eyes. Varahmihir was further infuriated with Bhadrabahu Swami and felt insulted.  Varahmihir felt that it was better for him to leave this kingdom, because he had lost his recognition and prestige as an accurate astrologer. He also realized that his lack of  knowledge was an obstacle that was blocking the way to fame and honour. He also felt that Bhadrabahu Swami could not digest his fame and that is why he had come to this kingdom, in order to prove him incapable and inferior. Finally Varahmihir left the kingdom and went to a forest where he practised deep penance for years. Upon his death, Varahmihir was re-born as a Vyantar Dev.

Through Avadhi gyaan, he came to know about his previous birth and once again his anger for Bhadrabahu Swami was aroused. Since he now possessed several powers, he decided to take revenge and hence spread an epidemic in the community. Acharya Bhadrabahu Swami identified the trouble and with his supreme knowledge, he recognized that it was the deed of Varahmihir, the Vyantardev. To protect the community from this grave trouble, Bhadrabahu Swami initiated a 3-day fast and immersed himself in the deep worship of Parmatma Parshvanath. While singing the hymn in the praise of Parmatma Parshvanath, the Uvasaggahar Stotra was naturally composed.

Deep love and devotion of Bhadrabahu Swami found expression in this Stotra. On completion of the recitation of the seventh stanza of the Stotra, the Adhishtayak Dev of Parshvanath Bhagwaan, named Parshvyaksh appeared at the service of Bhadrabahu Swami. Swamiji requsted, “I have no personal desire, but I request you to solve the problems and difficulties faced by our community due to the upheaval caused by the actions of the Vyantardev Varahmihir.” Parshvayaksh paid deep reverence to Bhadrabahu Swami, and was awed by his Unconditional devotion towards Parmatma Parshvanath. Considering the request of Swamiji, Parshvyaksh soon resolved the problems and the Vyantardev disappeared. Bhadrabahu Swami advised each and every member of the community to recite this Stotra with deep devotion and unwavering faith.

When all the members followed his instructions, they were relieved off their problems. However, over a period of time, people began to misuse this Stotra to solve minor problems. Since Parshvyaksh was bound by his promise which he had made to Bhadrabahu Swami, he had to appear at every call of the devotees and solve their problems. At last, Parshvyaksh approached Bhadrabahu Swami and explained the situation. Bhadrabahu Swami understood and used the “Swaharan Vidya” to erase the Stotra from people’s memory. Thereafter, he reduced the Stotra to 5 stanzas (the other 2 stanzas were embedded in these 5 stanzas). Shri Uvasaggahar Stotra of five stanzas was then unfolded before the masses.