The caption in the top right corner says: namo tthu ṇaṃ – ‘salutations to him!’

On the left is a royal throne of elaborate craftsmanship from which the figure shown on the right has got up. Above him is an ornate canopy. He has four arms and is kneeling with hands folded before him. He is also barefoot. These are two signs of a respectful attitude.

This is Śakra, the lord of the gods, who intervenes at key points in the lives of the Jinas. His exalted status is underlined by the throne and the canopy, which are both symbols of royalty.

Through the special knowledge known as ‘clairvoyance’ – avadhi-jñāna – Śakra has become aware that the Jina Mahāvīra was going to be born on earth. He sings a hymn of praise, known as the Śakra-stavan, which underlines the allegiance of the gods to the Jinas.

The long protruding eye is a typical feature of western Indian painting. Its origin is unclear.

Other visual elements

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 7. This is the folio number.

The original paper has been pasted onto a new base. 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:

  • use of gold in the paintings, margins and ornamental motifs
  • decorated border with blue floral motifs
  • three diamonds filled with gold ink and surrounded by blue ornamental motifs.

The three golden diamonds 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 shapes are in the places where the holes would once have been.

Three diamonds mean a verso side.


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.

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