Goa Agriculture Minister Vijay Sardesai on Tuesday unveiled a government scheme to chant “Vedic hymns” in an attempt to get better crop yields. He backed a technique that involves farmers meditating and channelling “cosmic energy” by chanting “Om rum jum sah” for at least 20 minutes a day, The Indian Express reported.
The project is called “Shiv Yog Cosmic Farming”, and has been designed by Avadhoot Shivanand, a former chemical engineer turned religious leader who runs Shiv Yog Foundation in Gurugram. Sardesai’s wife Usha is a follower of Shivanand.
“There is no money involved and, as an agriculture minister, I will explore every method to increase interest in farming,” Sardesai said after launching the project in Panaji. “If you convince me a rock show or a beauty contest will also help get people excited about agriculture, I will pull it in the middle of the fields. We need to now look into methods to get everyone interested in farming.”
He added, “My wife Usha is a Shiv Yogi and she is the one who has been promoting this philosophy. I was sceptical at first too, but it’s not magic. There are studies backing this method.”
Sardesai said he did not believe the government needed to study the scheme because “this particular scheme of Shiv Yogi also comes under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana of the Centre”. “Besides Babaji [Shivanand] has his firm spread across the globe,” Sardesai said. “He preaches all this abroad.”
Goan farmers have been receiving WhatsApp videos over the past week, purportedly showing fields in Madhya Pradesh where this scheme has shown positive effects. However, agriculture department officials told The Indian Express that “no one will be forced to do it”.