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Ānaka (Āṇaka)

A kettle-drum (mutiṅga) belonging to the Dasārahas. As it grew old and began to split, they fixed in another peg, and this process was continued, until, at last, the original drumhead vanished, leaving only the framework of pegs (S.ii.266). The origin of the drum is related in the Kakkaṭa Jātaka. When the Golden Crab, there mentioned, was trampled to death by the elephants, his two claws broke away from his body and lay apart in the Kulīradaha, where he lived. During the floods the water flowed from the Gaṅgā into this lake, running back again when the floods subsided. The two claws were thus carried into the Gaṅgā. One of them reached the sea, and the Asurā, picking it up, made thereof the drum named Āḷambara. The other was picked up by the Ten Royal Brothers (evidently the Dasārahas mentioned above) while playing in the river, and they made of it the little drum Ānaka (J.ii.344; the Jātaka is quoted in SA.ii.167‑8, with several variations in detail).

In the Saṃyuttanikāya Commentary (ii.167‑8) it is said that the drum was like molten wax in colour, because the crab’s claw had been dried by wind and sun. The sound of the drum was heard for twelve leagues, and it was, therefore, used only on festive occasions. On hearing it, the people assembled hurriedly, in various conveyances, decked with splendour. It was called Ānaka because it brought the people together as if summoning them (mahājanaṃ pakkositvā viya ānetī ti Ānako).

Later, when the original drumhead had vanished, it could hardly be heard even inside a hall.

The Ānaka drum is used as a simile in the Āṇi Sutta (S.ii.266‑7; see also KS.ii.178, n.4).

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