Damodar Ghanashyama Babare alias Anna Babare alias Anna Chinchanikar was a simple, rough and straightforward person. He hailed from the village Chinchani and hence everyone used to address him as Anna Chinchanikar. He cared for nobody, always spoke plainly and carried all dealings in cash. Though he looked outwardly harsh and uncompromising, he was good natured and guileless So Sri Sai Baba loved him. One day, like others serving Sri Sai Baba in their own way, this Anna was, one noon standing prone and was shampooing the left arm of Sri Sai Baba, which rested on the kathada [railing]. On the right side, one old widow named Venubai Koujalgi whom Sri Sai Baba called mother and all others Mavsibai was serving Sri Sai Baba in her own way. This Mavsibai was an elderly woman of pure heart. She clasped the fingers of both her hands round the trunk of Sri Sai Baba and was at this time kneading Sri Sai Baba's abdomen. She did this so forcibly that Sri Sai Baba’s back and abdomen became flat [one] and Sri Sai Baba moved from side to side. Anna on the other side was steady, but Mavsibai's face moved up and down with her strokes. Once it so happened that her face came very close to Anna's.
Being of a witty disposition she remarked – “Oh, this Anna is a lewd [bad] fellow, he wants to kiss me. Even being so old with grey hair he feels no shame in kissing me”. These words enraged Anna and he pulled up his sleeves and said “you say that I am an old bad fellow, am I quite a fool? It is you that have picked up a quarrel and are quarreling with me”. All the persons, present there were enjoying this encounter between them. Sri Sai Baba, who loved both of them equally and wanted to pacify them, managed the affair very skillfully. Lovingly He said “Oh Anna, why are you unnecessarily raising this hue and cry? I do not understand what harm or impropriety is there, when the mother is kissed?" Hearing these words of Sri Sai Baba, both of them were satisfied and all the persons laughed merrily and enjoyed Sri Sai Baba's wit to their heart's content.
When Damodar Ghanshyam Babre alias Annasaheb Chinchanikar went to Shirdi for the first time his wife Lakshmibai was at Chinchani. Suddenly Plague epidemic started at Chinchani. Many people fled from the place. The lady was all alone and was naturally afraid. Baba then appeared physically before her at Chinchani, and gave ten or twelve more such sakshatkar appearances till people returned to the village. Smt.Lakshmibai Chinchanikar thus continued in the village without any fear from the epidemic.
A civil suit regarding his fields was then in progress at Dahanu. Anna time and again asked Baba about the outcome. Baba always replied"Allah Bhala Karega". A famous lawyer, Achyut Narayan Khare, was handling his case. Once someone maliciously wrote to Anna saying that he had lost the case. Anna ran to Kaka Saheb Dixit and informed him; so, both of them came to Baba at Dwarakamai. As they were entering the Dwarakamai, Baba shouted "This old man has no faith in Me, throw away that letter".
Later the lawyer informed him that he had won the case and Rs. 1,800/- along with the court costs was awarded to him. Anna and Kaka Saheb Dixit then went to Baba with the letter in hand. Baba calmly said "Have you got faith in Me now?" Anna placed the letter at Baba's feet and said "Baba this is all yours, I do not want it". Baba refused to accept the money saying that He was a Fakir. Anna begged Baba to accept it. This conversation went on for some time. Ultimately Kaka Saheb Dixit suggested that the sum could be used to repair the Chavadi, and it should be named after Anna and his wife Lakshmi Bai.
On entering the south facing Chavadi, devotees can see even now a plaque on which is inscribed "Shri Sai Nath Babanchi Lakshmi Bai Damodar Babre, Chinchanikar Chavadi, Saka 1859". He and his wife came and lived in Shirdi, and were devoted to Baba. For many years they did nishkama seva (selfless service) not expecting or asking for any favours from Baba. One day Shyama asked Baba why He had not blessed this couple with a son while other devotee’s were blessed and their wishes were fulfilled. Baba smiled and said "Has it ever happened, that whenever anybody has asked me for any thing, that I have not granted it"? Baba being Antaryami saw that the son would only continue the name of Anna for one generation. While Baba wanted Anna's name to last for a very very long time.
After leading a successful life Shri.Anna Chichanikar took Samadhi on 15th April 1920.
Late Shri.Anna Chinchanikar had built a Sai Shiva Mandir at Chinchani, which is now looked after by the Anna Chinchanikar Trust.
We are giving below the contact details of Anna Chichanikar Trust for the benefit of Sai Devotees:
Sai Shiv Mandir,
(Source:Shri Sai Satcharitra by Govind Raghunath Dhabolkar alias Hemadpant, Shri Sai Leela Magazine, January 1978 Chinchani Sai Shiv Mandir Photo Courtesy: Shri.Vinod Patil, Mumbai)