The significance of the Ramayana is evident in many respects, and is especially so with regard to Lord Rama's adherence to dharma, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse. When Bharata comes to Rama and requests that He return to Ayodhya, Rama says, “If I come back to Ayodhya, people will think I am a hypocrite.”
Having promised His father that He would go to the forest and not stake His claim to the throne, how could He go back on His word, Rama asked Bharata. He further explained to Bharata that the dharma sastras said that only a father had the right to decide what to do with his property. That being the case, how could Rama or anyone else interfere in Dasaratha's right to decide who should be the next King of Ayodhya? Moreover, Dasaratha was the King, and how could a King's order be disobeyed?
Yet another important thing to be noted was the fact that Dasaratha had also instructed his children and in this sense he had been an Acharya to the princes. And one could not disobey one's Acharya. The reason for Dasaratha's decisions need not be gone into, Rama said to Bharata. Dasaratha might even have given his order because of his infatuation with his wife Kaikeyi. But that was no reason to disobey him, said Rama.
Obeying one's parent was far superior to performing yagas, explained Rama. He, therefore, asked Bharata to go back to Ayodhya and do as Dasaratha had wanted him to.
Rama's words on dharma, the need for obedience to one's parents, the need for adherence to the law of the land and the imperativeness of adherence to one's Acharya's commands, are all brought out by Rama in his advice to Bharata on what constitutes dharma.
We come across people who tell others that they respect their parents, but who never hesitate to find fault with their parents, even when the parents have been generous in gifting them property.
But here was Dasaratha, who not only snatched away Rama's right to govern the land, but also banished Him to the forest. And yet Rama never violated dharmic principles. He not only preached dharma, but also adhered to it.