The illustration contains two scenes at different levels, both featuring Kālaka.
On the upper level the figure on the right is Prince Kālaka. His hands are folded in a respectful gesture. The figure on the left is a Jain monk wearing the typical Śvetāmbara monastic robe. He is seated on a slightly raised seat and holds the cotton broom under his arm. In one of his hands he holds the mouth-cloth, which he has taken off to talk. In between them is the sthāpanācārya, a kind of tripod that symbolises the Jain teaching and is a substitute for the teacher.
Below is a river, which means that the scene takes place in a natural landscape. The tree and the flowers on the bottom level also point to this.
On the bottom level the figure on the left is again Prince Kālaka. His face and costume are different from those in the top scene. It is so in most paintings of these scenes. He is training his horse, which is shown on the right. Both figures are full of movement. The colour of the horse is not realistic though its form, trappings and expression are.
The long protruding eye is a typical feature of western Indian painting. Its origin is unclear.
There is no visible caption on this folio, where the edge is torn. But its presence on other folios of the same manuscript shows that there must have been one.
There are several notable things about this page, namely that:
The three red circles along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm-leaf. Here the central one is in a square blank shape. Strings through three holes 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.
There are a few notable features of this script, which are that:
Prince Kālaka was the son of King Vairisiṃha and of Queen Surasundarī in the town of Dharāvāsa and an accomplished young man. Once he went for a horse ride in a park. He heard a deep voice and went towards it. He discovered that the voice was that of the Jain monk Guṇaṃdhara, who was teaching. He sat down to listen to him respectfully. Convinced by the teaching, Kālaka asked his parents’ permission to enter monastic life.
The Kālakācāryakathā – 'story of the religious teacher Kālaka' – emphasises the connection between religious practice and magical abilities. As an accomplished Jain teacher, Kālaka can master various magical sciences and transmute brick into gold. He uses his powers to help the Śakas, a foreign population. In exchange, the Śakas help him destroy the wicked king Gardabhilla.
This eventful tale belongs to the Śvetāmbara Jain tradition. It is known in several versions in various languages and is often illustrated.
The story is frequently found as an appendix to the Kalpa-sūtra because the last part of the story explains how Kālaka changed the date of Paryuṣaṇ. This annual festival was moved from the fifth day of the bright half of the month Bhādrapada – roughly equivalent to August to September – to the fourth. The Kalpa-sūtra has a central role in Paryuṣaṇ.
The version of the story here is that of Bhāvadeva-sūri, a Jain Śvetāmbara author of the 13th century CE. It is written in Jaina Māhārāṣṭrī Prakrit and represents a short recension, where the story is told in simple language without poetical embellishments.
British Library. I.O. San. 3177. Unknown author. 1437
British Library. Or. 13475. Unknown author. Perhaps 15th century
British Library. Or. 13950. Unknown authors.