Have you ever heard this mantra by Deva Premal & Miten in a yoga class? I loved Deva's voice before I even knew the meaning of the mantra. The following is what I've learned about the Gayatri Mantra...thought I'd share it with you!
What it looks like (in ĐevaNāgarī script):
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥
...and, this is what it looks like sounded out:
om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ (Om Bhoor Bhoova Swa-Ha) tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ (Tat Sa-Vidoor Va-rain-yam) bhárgo devásya dhīmahi (Bhaargo They-Vas-Ya Dee-Mahi) dhíyo yó naḥ prachodáyāt (Thee-Yo Yo-Na-Ha, Pra-Cho-Da-Yaat)
Where it's from:
The Gayatri Mantra is a very sacred verse from the Rig Veda, believed to have been written somewhere between 1800-1500 BCE.. The Rig Veda is part of a larger collection, the Vedas, a collection of poems and verses that are divided up into 10 books. Each poem in the Rig Veda is dedicated to a deity, and the Gayitri Mantra is for the sun-deity Savitr.
What it means:
There are SO many translations... probably as many translations as there are translators, from the literal to the more interpretative.
THIS interpretation by Douglas Brooks is my favorite:
The eternal, earth, air, heaven That glory, that resplendence of the sun May we contemplate the brilliance of that light May the sun inspire our minds.
It's really quite beautiful...in my humble opinion. I don't think you necessarily need to be Hindu to appreciate it. The beauty and brilliance of the sun and it's light can be contemplated by anyone, no matter what their religion.
How to recite it:
If the Gayatri resonates with you, take 30 minutes, find a comfortable seat, unwind that mala that you've been wearing wrapped around your wrist for a fashion statement, and recite the Gayatri 108 times (use your mala to count..that's what it's for, silly!)...see how you feel afterward!
Bonus: Try the Gayatri with mudras (hand gestures)!