In preparing for this discussion the concept of dharma is extremely important. Note when the term is actually used throughout the epic and in what context. Try to determine to what extent evil or disruptive influences alter or attempt to alter a character’s dharma and to what extent they are successful. For instance, did the circumstances leading to Rama’s exile deter him from living according to his true dharma?
Vishnu comes in the separate and different forms of Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana, and Satrughna. What are the attributes that these brothers demonstrate? How do the earthly appearances of Vishnu help the reader’s understanding of dharma? What other qualities to life are encouraged? Why would Rama be set apart as a true hero? The story of Rama and Sita is a favorite story that parents tell their children. What purpose does the Ramayana serve as an instructional story for Indian culture? What effect do the test and temptations have on the heroic character?
Please cite specific episodes from the story.