The partly damaged caption in the top-left corner says: [garbh]āpahāra – ‘the removal of the embryo’.

On the left, a lady is on her couch in her bedroom. It is the brahmin lady Devānandā, in whom Mahāvīra‘s embryo first took shape. On the right side is Hariṇaigameṣin, the commander-in-chief of the god Śakra. As is usual, he is shown with the face of an antelope, after which he is named.

Obeying his master’s command, Hariṇaigameṣin has gone to Devānandā’s house to remove Mahāvīra‘s embryo from her womb. This is because future great men such as Jinas cannot be born of a brahmin mother. Now the god is leaving the house with the embryo in his hands.

Other visual elements

The original paper is slightly damaged. But, 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:

  • coloured background for the text
  • gold ink instead of the standard black ink
  • decorated border with blue floral motifs
  • diamond filled with gold ink and surrounded by blue ornamental motifs.

The diamond is a symbolic reminder of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm leaf. Strings through one or more holes were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The diamond is in the place where the central hole would once have been.