Under an ornate parasol and fanned by a servant behind him, a richly dressed man sits on a platform. He gestures to a woman in front of him. She raises her hand while the smaller figure to her rear folds her hands in respect.

King Yaśodhara is deeply unhappy after the discovery of his wife’s unfaithfulness. When his mother, Candramatī, visits him in the royal palace, he does not reveal the reason for his sadness. Instead, he says that he has had a bad dream. In his dream he was falling from the top of the palace and was then attacked by a terrifying-looking person. His death is near, he says, and he wants to turn to the other world – in other words, renounce worldly life.

His mother Candramatī’s hand gesture suggests that she is trying to comfort him by offering advice. She reminds him of his role as a kṣatriya, a member of the ruling caste, meaning that he cannot give up his position as king. Candramatī proposes that animals such as buffaloes and rams be sacrificed to the family goddess, who will remove all obstacles.

Yaśodhara, who feels compassion – karuṇā – for living beings, does not agree. Instead, he describes all the sufferings that have to be endured in future lives by those who commit violence.

The other lady, who is standing in respect with her hands folded, is probably an attendant.

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.