There are two related scenes depicted here. At the foot of the left-hand panel sit four naked men facing right. Above, a larger nude man sits on a dais, facing two white-swathed figures. Between them are water pots and a monastic broom, examples of which are also found in the lower level.

The panel on the right depicts extreme pain and violence. A blazing fire is ready to burn a body, in the flames at the bottom. A jug, probably full of burning oil, is shown about to pour itself on the fire. Jackals, crows and dogs are greedily devouring the bodies of the inhabitants of hell. Some of them have only heads without bodies.

The scene on the left shows a group of Digambara monks who are spiritually advanced enough to go without clothing. The larger monk on the dais is their head, Sudatta.

The white-clad people in front of him are two novices, Abhayaruci and Abhayamati. As novices they are not spiritually advanced enough to go naked. Sudatta welcomes them while their hands are folded in respect. They are asking permission to seek alms.

The scene on the right can be understood in two ways. It is a pictorial rendering of the description of the cemetery where Sudatta and his group have decided to stay. At the same time, it depicts tortures practised in hell.

Such violent scenes are meant to awaken disgust in the viewer or listener, encouraging them not to behave badly enough to be reborn in the lower world of the hells.

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

Other visual elements

This is a good example of an average manuscript. A red background is used for the painting but there is no use of gold, intricate design elements or elaborate script.

The bottom of the right margin contains the number 4, which is the folio number.

In the upper and lower margins there are syllables missing from the main text, or corrections. The number before them is the line number where they should be inserted.


The script used for the main text is the Jaina Devanāgarī script. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here Apabhraṃśa Prakrit.