These two pictures illustrate separate notions.

In the left-hand painting two monks are pictured. In the top-left panel one stands motionless in the ideal ascetic posture of kāyotsarga or ‘rejection of the body’. The other monk is shown in the other panels, lounging around, chatting, striking his superior with a saucepan and embracing a woman.

The painting on the right has two levels depicting a different story. At the top is a hunting scene in which a man on a galloping horse is about to shoot a deer with an arrow. The larger middle level shows a monk under a tree talking to a richly dressed man under a royal canopy. The monk holds his mouth-covering in his hand and his broom under his right arm while he talks. Lines of smaller attendants sit behind and below them.

In the first painting the monk on the left demonstrates the ascetic ideal of deep meditation and indifference to physical demands by taking thekāyotsarga. He displays the detachment from worldly concerns that advanced spiritual progress provides. The bad monk indulges in all sorts of bad behaviour, breaking all the vows he has taken. He lies down at his ease, has pointless discussions and is disrespectful, violent and lustful.

In the second picture the hunter is King Sanjaya. After killing a deer he finds a Jain monk near the animal and is terrified at the thought that he could have hurt him. He asks for forgiveness. The monk teaches him the Law and Sanjaya renounces the world to become a monk. Then he teaches other people the way to purity.

Other visual elements

This is a good example of a good-quality Uttarādhyayana-sūtra manuscript, with interesting miniature paintings.

The page is divided into three parts. This format is known as tri-pāṭha. In the middle, in larger script, is the original Prakrit text. Above and below, in smaller script, is a commentary of the text, here in Sanskrit. The commentary explains but also expands the text. The artists do not make any difference between these two levels.

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


The elaborate script used for the main text is the Jaina Devanāgarī script. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here Ardhamāgadhī Prakrit and Sanskrit.

There are a few notable features of this script:

  • it is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script
  • the red vertical lines within the text divide the long sentences into smaller parts, but are not necessarily punctuation marks.