He was born in a family of Sāvatthi after his father had left home for the ascetic life. The mother, naming him Sānu, took him at the age of seven to the monks for ordination, thinking thus to ensure for him supreme happiness. He was known as Sānu the novice (Sānu Sāmaṇera), and became a very learned teacher of the doctrine, practising the meditation on loving-
His mother in a previous birth was a yakkha. Later, Sānu lost his intellectual discernment and grew distraught and longed to go roaming. His former yakkha mother seeing this, warned his human mother as described in the Sānu Sutta (q.v.) The latter was overwhelmed with grief, and, when Sānu visited her, he found her weeping. She told him that he was as good as dead in that he had rejected the Buddha’s teaching and turned again to lower things, hence her sorrow. Sānu was filled with anguish, and, strengthening his insight, he soon won Arahantship (ThagA.i.113 f).
He is evidently identical with Udakadāyaka of the Apadāna (Ap.i.205). In the past, he saw Siddhattha Buddha having his meal and brought him water for his hands and feet and face and mouth. Sixty-
The story of Sānu is given also in the Saṃyuttanikāya and Dhammapada Commentaries (SA.i.235 ﬀ; DhA.iv.18 ﬀ), but the details differ. There, Sānu’s human mother is portrayed as encouraging him to return to the lay life. His yakkha-