Parshvanatha appears at the centre of this diagram which was created to aid Jain ritual and meditation. The 23rd Jina, Parshvanatha is regarded as an ascetic teacher of the 8th century BCE. He stands in the pose of body-abandonment [kayotsarga] and is surrounded by a hood of seven snakes. This reflects a legend from the Jina’s life when the serpent king sheltered him from a storm sent by a demon. Above Parshvanatha, divine eyes focus attention on a star surrounding the sacred meditative syllable ‘hrim’.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label