The glory of Ramayana is that the ideal states of living are expressed – the ideal brother, son, king, enemy, friend, and the ideal man – living in the society. But all this is mere paraphernalia. The core of this poem is utterly divine which explains why the glorious story of Rama is so popular even today.
Rama itself means ‘sarveşu ramante iti rămah’ – that which revels in every one of us, the pure light of Consciousness, the Atman, the Selt, the Atma-Rama. This spiritual essence in us can come out only as a son of Daśaratha, one who has conquered all the ten indriyas-five jnanendriyas and the five karmendriyas. It will be born in you and reborn only in Ayodhya (yuddha means conflict; Ayodhya means where there is no conflict, meaning, where all conflict has ended). In that Ayodhya which is ruled only by the self-controlled man (the one given to sell-indulgence and pleasures can have no peace and tranquillity) Dasaratna s son Rama is born.
This Rama, the pure Self, cannot enter into any active participation in life unless wedded to the mind. Sită (the mind) is ready. She is not born to Janaka by wedlock. While ploughing the land, he finds Sită. If a girl is got every time the land is ploughed, agriculture would have ceased long ago! The mind appears from the most inappropriate place ever. It is absurd to enquire deep into this. Later you find that the same Sita disappears into Mother Earth. From Mother Earth she came, to Mother Earth, she went back. From where the mind comes, and where it disappears during samadhi, nobody can tell. This is māyā.
Wedded to the mind when Räma returns, he finds that he cannot live in Ayodhya For, once the mind has come, you start expressing through it. You have to enter the forest of life, self-exiled as it were. Some cause or other must emerge as one enters the forest of existence. So long as Sitā was looking up to Räma, living in Rāma, for Rāma, by Räma, she never found any difference between Ayodhya and jungle. But how long can the mind remain constantly centered in the higher divine potential in us? It has to become an extrovert. And this is just what happened the moment Sītā looked away from Rāma.
The golden deer was noticed. The finite, ephemeral, ever-changing objects, start pulling you towards them. The mind demands them. Rama may argue, and all the scriptures might also argue, that it is all māyā, that it is not real, that it is only a rākşasa. Yet even Sitã, Rāma’s consort, will not accept it, and she will exile Rāma in search of the sense object. Once the desire is polluted, you fall. When Räma goes, he winks at Lakşmana, and they both understand that the poor deluded girl is suffering. Sitā is left in Lakşmana’s charge.