The play of the Divine
Oh Mind! Ever remember
The nectar-like name of Rama
Which is sweeter than Sugar,
Pleasanter to the tongue than honey.
Ramayana is not merely the story of Rama. It is an epic which proclaims the greatness of three cities--Mithila, Ayodhya and Lanka. The Rama Principle has brought out and demonstrated the significance of these three cities.
Rama is the embodiment of Dharma (righteousness),
Lakshmana is the embodiment of Sraddha (dedication).
Bharata embodies Bhakti (devotion),
Shatrughna personifies Sakti (valour).
Dharma is associated with Sraddha. The protecting cover for Bhakti is Sakti. Hence Rama and Lakshmana were always together as a pair, and Bharata and Satrughna as another.
Hardly had Rama reached the age of sixteen when sage Viswamitra arrived on the scene. With his coming, the epic career of Rama (Rama-ayana) began. From then on the destruction of the Raakshasas started. Beginning with the protection of Viswamitra's yajna (religious sacrifice), it is one continuous saga of ceaseless action' liberating Ahalya from her curse, proceeding to Mithila, breaking Siva's bow, marrying Sita (the incarnation of Maha Maya), humbling of Parasurama on the way to Ayodhya, leaving for the forest as an exile, searching for Sita, invading Lanka, destroying Ravana, installing Vibhishana on the throne, and triumphantly returning to Ayodhya. During all this period, Rama's career was filled with action and adventures with no respite.
The term "Rama" means one who is pleasing and lovable. "Ayana" means movement or journey. "Ra" refers to Atma and "Ma" refers to Mind. The Rama Principle means merging the mind in the Atma. "Ramayana" means suffusing the world with the bliss of the Rama Principle.
Source: Discourse in the Prashaanthi Mandir on 7-4-1987.