The caption in the top left corner says: Gautama-jnāna – ‘Gautama’s perfect knowledge’.

A male figure sits in the lotus posture of meditation in a garden pavilion. Sitting on a lotus flower, he wears the white robe and carries the white cotton broomrajoharaṇa – both associated with Śvetāmbara monks. His right hand, which holds the rosary, makes the ritual gesture of exposition, used when explaining to listeners.

This is the standard representation of Indrabhūti Gautama, who is the first disciple and first gaṇadhara of Mahāvīra, the 24th Jina. He is traditionally shown sitting on a lotus seat.

Indrabhūti Gautama gained omniscience on the same night Mahāvīra died, a detail given in the text alongside the picture.

Other visual elements

This is a good example of an average Kalpa-sūtra manuscript. Gold is used for the painting, but other elements signalling an aesthetic object of special value are absent here.


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.

Towards the end of line 8, the number 28 between two red vertical lines refers to the paragraph numbering. It should be understood as meaning 128 because it is common to miss out the digit specifying hundreds or thousands.

The lines in smaller script above and below the main text 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.