The Gayatri is said to be the most ancient mantram known to humankind. It is a statement of aspiration and devotion, placing us on the sacred path of return.
Several English translations exist. I learned the following one years ago. It was given by the Tibetan master, Djwhal Khul.
Oh Thou Who givest sustenance to the Universe
From Whom all things proceed
To Whom all things return
Unveil to us the true Spiritual Sun
Hidden by a disk of golden light
That we may know the truth
And do our whole duty
As we journey to Thy sacred feet.
The dual emphasis on knowing the truth and doing our duty are significant. It seems to me that to have knowledge without applying it is useless; and work without knowledge is fruitless. I think that the spiritual path encompasses both.
Yoga students and kirtan enthusiasts may be familiar with the Gayatri, which has been beautifully recorded by Wah! and Deva Premal. Next time you hear one of their beautiful recordings, you will have some meaning to attach to it!