The 14 auspicious dreams are depicted here in three rows, each showing four dreams. All the dreams are shown to be a similar size.

The order here follows the sequence of the 14 auspicious dreams in the text of the Kalpa-sūtra. This page contains only the beginning of the list. Starting from the top left and moving left to right, with the Prakrit terms, the list is:

  1. elephant – gaya
  2. bull – vasaha
  3. lion – sīha
  4. the goddess Śrīabhiseya, literally anointment
  5. garland – dāma
  6. moon – sasi
  7. sun – diṇayara
  8. banner – jhaya
  9. vase full of water – kumbha
  10. lotus lakepaumasara
  11. ocean of milksāyara
  12. celestial palace – vimāṇa bhavaṇa
  13. heap of jewels – rayaṇ’-uccaya
  14. fire – sihi.

The facing text relates to the brahmin lady Devānandā, in whose womb Mahāvīra, the 24th Jina, had first taken shape. More precisely, the text describes the moment when Devānandā woke up and realised that the embryo had been removed from her and that the 14 dreams she saw had also been transferred to the kṣatriya lady Triśalā.

Other visual elements

In many Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts, there is a clear intention to make the manuscript a valuable and remarkable object in itself. Here this is achieved in a rather modest manner. This aim is signalled by the:

  • ornamental motif in the central margin
  • calligraphic script.

The three red discs along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound at one time. Strings through one or more holes in the paper were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The discs are in the places where the holes would once have been.

This manuscript belongs to a rather early phase of Kalpa-sūtra paper manuscripts, the beginning of the 15th century. This is evidenced by the:

  • format of the paper, which is rather narrow
  • old system of folio numbering, using ‘letter-numerals’, which is visible in the left-hand margin inside the red disc (see Kapadia 1937).

In the system of ‘letter-numerals’, each number or digit from 1 to 10 is represented by a different letter. The number 20 is represented by a particular letter, which is different from those used for 30, 40 and so on. The number 100 has its own letter, while 200 has another letter, 300 its particular letter and so on up to 400. Numbers with more than one digit, such as 34 or 258, are represented by two or three of these letters placed one above the other. On this page the sign for 10 is placed above the sign for 6, meaning 16.

The middle of the right-hand margin contains the number 16. This is the folio number. It is again written in smaller script in the lower corner of the page. In this page only the 1 is visible because the edge is damaged.


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

This manuscript was read after it was copied and this page shows three additions or corrections in smaller script, namely:

  • in line 4, the Prakrit word haḍe – ‘taken away’ – used in the accusative plural, is glossed by its Sanskrit equivalent hr̥tān
  • in line 5, the small number 31 above the line is the paragraph number
  • at the beginning of the last line, the syllable ṇaṃ has been added, which was missing from the text.

In many manuscripts the paragraph numbers are part of the text, but here they have been added afterwards.