What I love is that it's filled with all the human emotion and limitations, while also expressing a greater divine order.
There's an audiobook of the Ramayana read by Ram Dass available that I really enjoy. And there is also a lovely animation called Sita Sings the Blues by the talented Nina Paley, and she has generously streamed her film online for donations only.
A quick synopsis of the tale (missing all the fun adventures but just to give you a framework):
Lord Rama is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. He was the king of Ayodhya. He is the main character in Valmiki’s epic Lord Ramayana. In the epic, Lord Rama is described as an ideal king and an ideal person. He is the most widely worshipped Hindu deity in India. Lord Vishnu incarnation of Lord Rama is also the most celebrated one. According to the Lord Ramayana, the story of Lord Rama goes as follows:
Lord Rama was the eldest son of king Dasharatha and Kausalya. He married the daughter of King Janaka, Sita by winning her in a ceremony called ‘Swayamvara’. In the ceremony, the prospective grooms of Sita were challenged to string a giant bow. Princes from various kingdoms tried but did not succeed to even move the bow.
As Lord Rama was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, he lifted the bow and strings it with his one hand. The legend is Lord Rama’s step mother, Kalkeyi wanted her son Bharata to be the king of Ayodhya, and so she plotted to banish Lord Rama for fourteen away from Ayodhya. Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman were in exile and lived in forest.
One day, Lord Rama and Lakshman went away for hunting leaving Sita alone. Sita was abducted by Ravana. Ravana was a knowledgeable but an evil king. He was the ten headed ruler of Lanka. He held Sita captive as revenge from Lord Rama. Lord Rama with the aid of his brother Lakshman and Hanuman attacked Ravana’s army in pursuit to rescue Sita.
After a long and fierce battle, Lord Rama succeeded in killing the ten headed Ravana and reunited with his wife. Having completed his exile, Lord Rama returned back to Ayodhya with his wife and brother and was crowned as King. His rule is known as Ram Rajya. Today, Lord Rama is revered for his courage, virtue, bravery and absolute devotion for his wife and Ayodhya.
So that's just a bit of context. I often feel that longing for 'home' and feel that life is a giant stretch-pull of consciousness that is so difficult to move through. 14 years can pass so quickly, and yet if we knew something was 14 years in the future it would seem a long time. How much more for a lifetime? For a soul to commit to a lifetime of being 'lost in the forest'? Why doesn't Dasharatha stop Rama from leaving, if he is king after all?
Rama Goes Into the Forest
14 years in the forest!
I leave today, Kausalya.
How can Rama be so gracious?
Dancing with the twists of fate
Doesn’t skip a beat.
His particulates of being move
in oscillation with all things.
Dasharatha! What is a lifetime?
The blink of an eye for us
who are eternal
And worlds within worlds
unfurl in that moment.
…lifetimes of pleasure and pain,
of remember & forget.
Rama loves his father