The slightly damaged caption in the top-right corner says: śrīgurumāhātmya – ‘The greatness of the teacher’.

Three ascetics face a larger monk, who sits on a throne-like seat. All wear the characteristic Śvetāmbara monastic robes and hold the mouth-cloth in front of them. In between the teacher and the listeners stands the sthāpanācārya.

The relative size of the figures indicates their seniority. The largest figure is teaching the more junior ascetics.

The text next to the illustration is the last paragraphs of the Kalpa-sūtra. It says that performing rites and following rules according to this text is a way of reaching omniscience and emancipation in this life or after a few rebirths.

Other visual elements

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:

  • coloured background for the text
  • gold ink instead of the standard black ink
  • decorated border with blue floral motifs
  • three diamonds filled with gold ink, with arrow-like blue lines and surrounding blue border as ornamental motifs.

The three diamonds along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm leaf. Strings through holes in the paper were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The diamonds are in the places where the holes would once have been.