The caption in the upper-right corner states: Śākī rājā milavuṃ – roughly, ‘meeting the Śāka king’.

A large figure in the centre is seated in his palace on a large lion-throne surmounted by parasols, the emblem of kingship. He is shown in full regalia, his sword in one hand and a flower in the other. On the right, facing the king, sits a Jain monk in characteristic Śvetāmbara monastic robe. One of his hands is extended towards the king, showing that he is talking to him. In that hand he holds the mouth-cloth, which he has taken off to speak. He is holding the cotton broom – the rajoharaṇa – under one of his arms. The monk is Kālaka.

The big figure is the king of the Śaka people, known as the Sāhi.

Nobody can persuade King Gardabhilla to free the nun Sarasvatī, whom he has kidnapped. Sarasvatī’s brother Kālaka starts wandering and reaches the country of the Śakas. They live beyond the Indus river, which traditionally marks the boundary of the Indian subcontinent. There Kālaka meets the Sāhi, who appreciates his qualities and offers to help him in any way he needs.

The foreignness of the Śakas is emphasised by their depiction in art, specifically that:

  • they have full flat faces
  • they have slanting eyes, not the protruding eye typical of Indians in painting from western India
  • their beards have a distinctive shape, similar to those found in Central Asian or Chinese populations
  • their clothes are very different from those of Indians.

The small figure standing below on the right is probably an attendant of the Śaka king. He has the same characteristics of face and clothing.

Other visual elements

The number 115 at the bottom of the right-hand margin is the folio number. It is a high number because this manuscript is the continuation of the Kalpa-sūtra manuscript Or. 13959.

The three red circles along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm leaf. Here the central one is in a square blank shape. Strings through one or more holes were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The circles are in the places where the holes would once have been.

These red circles are ornamented with diamonds and floral motifs. The margins are also decorated with blue patterns. This is common in manuscripts of the Kalpa-sūtra and the Kālaka story, which are objects used in ritual during the Paryuṣaṇ festival.


The elaborate script is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, in a form which recalls calligraphy. It is used for writing many Indian languages, here for Sanskrit.

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

  • it is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script
  • the red vertical lines within the text, which, though they are used to divide the long sentences into smaller parts, are not necessarily punctuation marks.

Here, each pair of red lines surrounds the stanza number, which is at the end of each stanza. In red ink, the stanza numbers on this page are:

  • 20 at the beginning of line 2
  • 21 at the beginning of line 5
  • 22 at the beginning of line 8.