Lord Rama has been called adarsh purush and maryada purushottam. Maryada purushottam refers to a heroic heart that stands firm through the trials and tests encountered on the path to perfection and Lord Rama represented and preached that ideal through his actions. He was the best among men. The term adarsh purush literally means the best among men, following a standard of righteous living. Lord Rama did not merely follow this, but set the highest standards of dharma through his exemplary life. He was the very embodiment of dharma.
For example, when Kaikeyi raised objections to his being crowned the king of Ayodhya, Rama humbly stepped aside, upholding the ideals of an obedient son. He wanted to be seated in the hearts of all citizens of Ayo-dhya and be accepted unanimously, without any discordant note of protest. His ideals came first, then his people. He put himself last.
Rama was also the epitome of wisdom and sane judgment. At that time, had Rama allowed himself to be persuaded by the majority and ascended to the throne of Ayodhya, citizens would have accused Rama’s father, King Dasharath, as the one who was unable to keep his promises. This blemish would have tarnished the entire dynasty. In his 14 years of exile, Rama subjected himself to many hardships. He befriended all — vanvasis, tribals, boatmen, rishis, birds and beasts. He lived with them, lent a sympathetic ear to their difficulties and alleviated their sufferings at every turn.
Rama connected with all beings and everybody’s pain. He saw a bleeding Jatayu and was moved to tears; Shabri’s devotion touched him deeply. His annihilation of the demons was only to protect the innocent and uphold dharma. However, even when Rama killed them, they attained moksha (salvation).
Rama also gave counsel and imparted knowledge in different situations. For example, he explains the nine types of devotion or penance to Sabari. To Lakshmana, he talked about the subtleties of vairagya, vivek and maya. To the weeping Tara, he imparted self-knowledge. After killing Ravana, he instructed Vibhishana to fulfil his duties and perform the final rites of Ravana. Rama’s greatness lay in raising the meanest creature to become as great as himself by inspiring them to harness their full divine potential.
To live a life glorifying, worshipping and extolling this divinity through all actions and offering it as worship at the altar of the universal spirit is the dharma preached by Rama. On Ramanavami, we must try to emulate and walk on the path which Lord Rama has shown us.