The painting is divided into two parts of unequal size.

Bottom panel

In the lower panel, six men stand in a row. Two of them wear the same white garment. Three wear a red garment, and one a green one. These characteristics do not seem to be significant. What is relevant is the number – six. Combined with the scene in the upper panel, this indicates that they represent the various colours of the Soulsoul – the leśyās.

Cosmological manuscripts clearly differentiate the men from their body complexions, in accordance with the traditional gradation. However, Uttarādhyayana-sūtra manuscripts do not always emphasise this.

Top panel

This illustrates the parable of the tree. Emphasis is put on the action each man performs but the colour that goes with it is not shown literally.

The man at the bottom left is shown picking up the fruit that are falling from the tree.

The man at the bottom right seems about to cut the tree at its root, destroying it completely.

Of the four other men, one is climbing the tree while the three others seem to have climbed it already. One of the climbers is trying to pick bunches of fruit and the other two reach towards the branches or the boughs.

Illustrating a parable

This is a standard depiction of the parable of the tree, meant to illustrate the six colours of the soulleśyā. Souls take on a different colour depending on one’s behaviour. This is a complex Jain concept narrowly connected to the doctrine of karma. This parable and illustration are the most common way of visualising the concept. The different attitudes one can have when facing an identical situation demonstrate the soul’s colour.

In this parable, the six men are said to be in a jungle, thirsty and hungry, when they come across the fruit-laden jambū tree. They do different things to get the tree’s fruit.

In some illustrations of this parable each of the men is clearly associated with a particular colour. In some paintings of the parable, however, the overall meaning is more important than the details. In this painting it is rather difficult to precisely identify each action with each colour. Attempts made in this direction, such as those by Norman Brown on page 48 (1941) are not clearly successful.

In this case only two men can be identified as representing specific colours. The man on the bottom left has the best attitude because he rejects violence. He represents the colour white. The man holding the axe demonstrates the worst attitude because he embraces violence. He represents black.

Other details

In the lower-right corner of the page, 113 is the folio number.

The middle portion of the text facing the image contains verses at the end of chapter 33 of the Uttarādhyayana-sūtra. The chapter title is given at the end, as usual, in red ink: Karma-prakṛty-adhyayanaṃ – ‘Chapter on the categories of karma’. Here is the part covering the end of verse 19 up to verse 25. Verse numbers appear at the end of each stanza, here after a double vertical line. The language of this portion of the page is Ardhamāgadhī Prakrit.

Then starts chapter 34 on leśyās, of which the very beginning can be read on the last line: les’ajjhayaṇaṃ pavakkhā[mi] – ‘I will now expose the chapter on the colours of the soul’.

On the final line of the main text is a sequence of letters in red ink. The character //§O// is an auspicious sign used to signal the beginning, of a work or a chapter.

Above and below this central portion, in smaller script, is a Sanskrit commentary. This type of manuscript, which is divided into three parts, is called tri-pāṭha. This page contains the commentary on chapter 33. On the last line, after the blank space, the commentary on chapter 34 starts.