The Gayatri Mantra
Word for word explanation
Gayatri Mantra appears in all Vedas. Vedas are said to be breath of God and is existing from time immemorial. It doesnt have any human author (unlike other religions). Gayatri Mantra is said to be most revered & center mantra of Vedas as it indicates medidation on the Supreme God. Here Savitr - Sun God is indicated as deity for meditation. Sun God can be viewed in two angles - as a spiritual guru and as a spiritual light. Sun God is said to one of the Vedic preachers to his followers. He preaches the way to attain the Supreme to its followers. Sun God was teacher to Lord Hanuman, Lord Brahma, Samba - Lord Krishna's son, Sage Yagyavalya etc..
Once Sage Yagyavalya was attending his class of his Guru. At that time, due to some incident his Guru got some dosha (sin). He asked his pupils to share his sin so that he will be get rid of his sin. But Sage Yagyavalya didnt agreed to share his guru's sin. So his guru got angry and ask him to return the vedic knowledge taught by him. Immediately Sage Yagyavalya vomitted the vedas and other disciples took the form of crows took it. Then Sage Yagyavalya left the hermitage of his Guru and decided to make penance on Lord Surya Narayana (Sun God). Due to result of his penance Lord Surya Narayana appeared to him in form of a horse and taught him the vedas and also additionally "Sukla Yagur Veda" (which was not even know to Sage Yagyavalya's guru). Since Suryadeva taught to him in form of a white (Sukla) horse , the veda is known to be "Sukla Yagur Veda".
[Note : We "sourashtrians" are suppose to follow the "Sukla Yagur Veda" of Sun God].
When Lord Hanuman approached Lord Surya Narayana to accept him as his disciple, Suryadeva put forth one condition that Hanumanji should follow his revolution (as Sun is continously spinning, whereas other planets are revolving around it) while he teaches as he cant remain static in one-place. Lord Hanuman Agreed and followed Surya-deva on his path during his gurukula vasa.
Thus we see that Lord Suryadeva is a preacher of Supreme Vedic Truth to his followers. (Note : SunGod was preached by Lord Narayana himself. Its told by Lord Krishna in Bhagavath Gita).
Also Sun is said to be eye of Supreme God Narayana. Through Sun only Lord Narayana watches us and makes the world flourish.
Sun-God also symbolises Atman (the soul), the spiritual light (ie., knowledge).
Thats why Sun-God is placed as object of meditation in Holy Gayatri Mantra.
Gayatri Mantra was even uttered by Lord Vamana (Lord Vishnu's present manvanthra avatar. ie., 5th avatar). and was also uttered by Lord Rama (as Lord Rama wanted to be a role model of entire humans). Lord Krishna tells in Bhagavath Gita that "Among Mantras he is the Gayatri Mantra". So we can see the greatness of Gayatri Mantra.
Om Namo Narayana
Om Namo Narayana