Sanankumara A Maha Brahma. In the Nikayas (D.i.121; M.i.358; S.i.153; A.v.327) he is mentioned as the author of a famous verse, there quoted:
Khattiyo settho jane tasmim ye gottapatisarino Vijjacaranasampanno so settho devamanuse.
In one place (S.ii.284) the verse is attributed to the Buddha, thus endowing it with the authoritativeness of a pronouncement by the Buddha himself. Sanankumara is represented as a very devout follower of the Buddha.
In a sutta of the Samyutta (S.i.153), he is spoken of as visiting the Buddha on the banks of the Sappini, and it was during this visit that the above verse was spoken.
Sanankumara was present at the preaching of the Mahasamaya Sutta (D.ii.261).
In the Janavasabha Sutta, Janavasabha describes to the Buddha an occasion on which Sanankumara attended an assembly of the Devas, presided over by Sakka and the Four Regent Gods.
There was suddenly a vast radiance, and the devas knew of the approach of Sanankumara.
As the usual appearance of the Brahma is not sufficiently materialized for him to be perceived by the Devas of Tavatimsa, he is forced to appear as a relatively gross personality which he specially creates.
As he arrives, the Devas sit in their places with clasped hands waiting for him to choose his seat.
Then Sanankumara takes on the form of Pancasikha (because all devas like Pancasikha, says the Commentary, DA.ii.640) and sits, above the assembly, cross legged, in the air.
So seated, he expresses his satisfaction that Sakka and all the Tavatimsa Devas should honour and follow the Buddha. His voice has all the eight characteristics of a Brahmas voice.
(These are given at D.ii.211).
He then proceeds to create thirty three shaper, of himself, each sitting on the divan of a Tavatimsa Deva, and addresses the Devas, speaking of the advantages of taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.
Each deva fancies that only the shape sitting on his own divan has spoken and that the others are silent.
Then Sanankumara goes to the end of the Hall, and, seated on Sakkas throne, addresses the whole assembly on the four ways of iddhi;
on the three avenues leading to Bliss, as manifested by the Buddha; on the four satipatthanas, and the seven samadhiparikkhara.
He declares that more than twenty four lakhs of Magadha disciples, having followed the teachings of the Buddha, have been born in the deva worlds.
When Sanankumara has finished his address, Vessavana wonders if there have been Buddhas in the past and will be in the future.
The Brahma reads his thoughts and says there certainly were and will be.
Sanankumara means ever young.
Buddhaghosa says (MA.ii.584; cf. SA.i.171) that, in his former birth, he practised jhanas while yet a boy with his hair tied in five knots (pancaculakakumarakale), and was reborn in the Brahma world with the thana intact.