This page consists of stanzas 62 to 63 of this Sanskrit version of the popular story of Kālaka.

At the left is a Jain monk wearing the typical Śvetāmbara monastic robe. He is on a slightly raised seat and holds the cotton broom under his arm. In one of his hands he holds the mouth-cloth, which he has taken off to talk.

Between him and the man standing to the right at the lower level is the sthāpanācārya. A kind of tripod that symbolises the Jain teaching, it is often used in pictures as a substitute for the teacher.

An elderly man, with white hair and beard, leans on a stick to walk. He gestures towards the tripod, showing that he is talking to the monk.

The Jain monk is the Ācārya Kālaka. The figure on the right is the god Śakra or Indra. He is shown disguised as an old man. In this episode in the story of Kālaka, Śakra disguises himself so he can test the knowledge and abilities of the respected teacher Kālaka. The god tests him by asking him to teach about the nigodas – the most minute beings in the universe.

Other visual elements

There are several notable things about this page, which is not in perfect condition as the edges are slightly 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 shape
  • division of the text into two equally-sized panels, separated by a 2-centimetre margin containing a golden diamond
  • blue ornamental motifs around the golden diamond.

There is a single ornamental diamond because this is the recto 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. Number 62 is visible on line 4. This means that this page contains verse 62 and part of verse 63


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.