Understanding The ÔM & How To Use It

The ÔM pendant can be used simply as an accessory but its real power resides in its use for meditation. Using it for meditation is extremely simple and explaining the process doesn't warrant more than a small paragraph, so if that's all you want to know you can jump to the bottom of this article. On the other hand, if you are like me and enjoy learning the deeper story behind everything, then join me along this journey to the roots my dear friend.

The ancient ÔM symbol displayed on our pendant represents the sound of the universe and is considered the matrix of all sounds. It's the ancient Indian equivalent of the "big bang" concept. As with many of the philosophical contributions made by these wise ancient Indian philosophers, in a few years Western science will probably discover that the Big Bang was actually more like a "Big ÔM". The scripture in this symbol has yet to be identified definitively, but it is evidently pre-Sanskrit (see the marking differences between the rectilinear character style of Sanskrit and the curvilinear character style of the ÔM symbol) and pre-Hinduism (after all, Hinduism derived from the encounter between the Aryan and Dravidian cultures roughly 3,000 years ago), and deriving from highly educated and sophisticated ancient cultures that have since been mostly erased from the collective historical memory. At this point, it may be impossible to make a definitive link, but most of the evidence shows it is likely of Dravidian origin, or perhaps older.

The Dravidian civilization populated much of modern-day India & Pakistan 5000+ years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization is a well-known example of a commercially successful, culturally sophisticated and scientifically advanced Dravidian society. Much of what you'll learn about the ÔM in books, online or with teachers has suffered the influence of mystical misinterpretation and religious appropriation that occurred during the decline of the Dravidian civilization.

Before explaining how to use the ÔM, let's look at a couple more common misunderstandings I didn't mention in the earlier post about the story of our pendant. It's interesting to consider that the mistakes I commonly see in New York and online are most likely made unknowingly. Let's take a gander at the circumflex accent we use when writing in Latin characters. Understanding the purpose of the accent will help you avoid two major gaffes.

So what's the deal with the accent on the "O" that looks like a little hat? Our use of the circumflex accent “Ô” (yes, I really did call it a "little hat") represents a diphthong of “AU”, which is the blending of two different vowels. The difference between ÔM and AUM is simply one of transliteration. It's ideal to avoid writing AUM because anyone who learns from books or a poorly informed teacher is more prone to errors in pronunciation and completely changing its effects.

On the other hand, if ÔM were to be written OM (as, in fact, it usually is), without the circumflex accent, it would be a poor transliteration from Sanskrit to Latin characters because OM could not be accurately returned (re-transliterated) to Sanskrit characters. The quality of a transliteration can be determined by the ability of a layman to return to the original alphabet without modifications.

While there is a way of writing ÔM in the dêvanágarí alphabet, i.e. the rectilinear form, the curvilinear form that is adopted in Yôga and in other philosophies is much more ancient and probably has its origins in pre-Aryan cultures.

When the ÔM symbol is written, it is referred to as Ômkára, and when pronounced it is referred to as Pránava. All schools of Yôga (Yôga is any strictly practical methodology that leads to samádhi) adopt the Ômkára, which is the drawing of the syllable ÔM. There is an ideal form of writing it and an infinity of stylizations based on the calligraphy of each school’s founder. Therefore,  the symbol is the same, but not identical, since each school adopts a specific design that establishes a connection in the collective unconscious with the force of the lineage's Ancestors. 

There are several correct and powerful ways of pronouncing the pránava. Seven forms of pránava are taught in our school, each with a unique effect (limited copies remaining of our CD containing all seven).

When using our ÔM pendant you establish a connection with ancient current of force, power and energy that is one of the largest, oldest and most powerful on earth. Many people associate the use of a ÔM pendant with protection, and while we do recognize a certain class of effects in this order, we don't think it should be the justification for using the ÔM pendant. It should be used in a casual and genuine way, as the average person does when wearing the symbol or logo of their favorite club, team or university; use the ÔM pendant if you identify with what it means and the lineage it represents, not for superstitious reasons or for its benefits.

We adopt a design of the yantra ÔM reproduced photographically from an ancient text found in Rishikesh, India, in the Himalayas. The meticulous detail of the yantra ÔM should not be changed in any way.


Utilize the illustration below to practice concentration and the first level of meditation (yantra dhyána). Look at the symbol for as long as necessary until you can preserve the image in your mind with the eyes closed.

DeRose Method om.jpg