The caption in the upper right corner says: guru – ‘teacher’.

A large monk sitting on an ornate seat under a canopy is opposite a smaller ascetic. They are in characteristic Śvetāmbara robes. They each hold the cotton broomrajoharaṇa – of the Śvetāmbara ascetic under one of their arms. They also hold their mouth-cloths in front of them, which signals that they are talking.

Above the smaller monk is the sthāpanācārya, symbolising teaching and teachers.

This illustration depicts a senior monk teaching another monk. The teacher’s higher rank is shown by his larger size and throne-like seat. The listener is a junior member of the monastic community.

The long protruding eye is a typical feature of western Indian painting. Its origin is unclear.

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 91, which is the folio number. But it is torn.

The original paper has been pasted onto a new base. As with many Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts, there is a clear intention to make the manuscript a valuable and remarkable object in itself. This aim is signalled by the:

  • use of gold in the paintings, margins and ornamental motifs
  • decorated border with blue floral motifs
  • three diamonds filled with gold ink and surrounded by blue ornamental motifs.

The three golden diamonds along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound at one time. Strings through one or more holes in the paper were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The shapes are in the places where the holes would once have been.

Three diamonds mean a verso side.


The elaborate script used is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, which is here like calligraphy. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here for Ardhamāgadhī Prakrit.

There are a few notable features of this script, which:

  • is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script
  • contains red vertical lines that mark out verse divisions, with a single line dividing a verse in two while double lines are found at the end of the verse.

There are also numerals in the text, which are paragraph numbers, namely the:

  • number 60 at the beginning of line 1
  • number 61 at the beginning of line 8.

The lines in smaller script above and below the main text and in the margins are explanations in Sanskrit of phrases found in the central part. The two small parallel lines like slanted = after the words are meant to separate the explanations.