This page consists of stanzas 25 to 26 of this Sanskrit version of the popular story of Kālaka.

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. His hands are folded in a gesture of respect and prayer towards the king. He is holding the cotton broomrajoharaṇa – 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 Indian art, for example:

  • 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

There are several notable things about this page, which is not in perfect condition as the edges are rather torn.

The Kālaka story is often an appendix to Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts. In many Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts, there is a clear intention to make the manuscript a valuable and remarkable object in itself. This often holds true for the manuscripts of the Kālaka story as well. Here this aim is signalled by the:

  • shape and style of the script, which is close to calligraphy
  • use of gold ink for the red-edged border lines and ornamental diamond shapes
  • division of the text into two equally-sized panels, separated by a 2cm margin containing a golden diamond
  • blue ornamental motifs around the golden diamond in the centre

There are three ornamental diamonds because this is the verso side of a folio.

This version of the Kālaka story is told in poetry. Verse numbers are at the end of each stanza. They are often in red, like here. On this page are the following numbers:

  • 25 at the beginning of line 1
  • 26 on line 4.

This means that verse 25 ends on this page, which also has all of verse 26 and a large part of verse 27.

The bottom of the right margin contains the folio number. Only the first two digits are visible as ‘1 9’ because the edge is torn. Since there is no gap in the text between this and the preceding folio, it is to be understood as ‘190’. It is a high number because this manuscript is the continuation of a Kalpa-sūtra manuscript. However, the rest of the manuscript is not available.


The elaborate script used is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, which is here like calligraphy. There are a few notable features of this script.

Firstly, it is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script.

There are red vertical lines within the text marking out verse divisions. Single red vertical lines indicate where a verse is divided in two, while double red vertical lines are found at the end of the verse.