Yogis practicing in the Kundalini tradition will already be familiar with another form of this mantra: Om namah Shivaaya, which honors the name of Shiva.
At Shantivanam, Father Griffiths led a morning prayer repeating the mantra “Om namah Christaaya,” which honors the name of Christ.
For an explanation of the mantra, Russill Paul writes:
“The five-syllable Christian mantra ‘Na-mah-Chris-taa-ya,’ prefixed by the ‘Om,’ is a powerful combination, much like the Hindu ‘Na-mah-Shi-vaa-ya’ upon which it is modeled. The Om, much like the Hebrew ‘Amen,’ is an affirmation of the Divine presence. It also represents the Divine Word, the sound by which God creates and sustains the universe, as in, ‘In the beginning was the word…’ It is the Hindu parallel to the Greek Logos, the mystical Word that creates the world, and with which Christ is associated. ‘All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made’ (John 1:3). Namaha is from the same root as namaste — nam — which literally means ‘to bow, to bend, to prostrate’ and therefore signifies worship and adoration. Christaaya is the word for Christ, meaning ‘to the anointed one.’ In English, then, the mantra can be taken to mean ‘I bow to Christ, the anointed one’ or ‘I worship the living presence of the anointed One.'” —Jesus in the Lotus, page 80
I love the idea of having a Christian mantra in Sanskrit that I can take into yoga classes with me as an alternative to what is being said or chanted in class.