Lord Shiva said:
Now listen as I explain to you the blessed story of Shri Rama! Your wish to hear this story soothes my heart! First I will describe the sanctifying reasons for the Lords descent. His mysterious ways are impossible for the intellect to conceive but I will try to explain them to the best of my ability.
The Vedic scriptures with great sweetness describe the Lords descent, but how can the indescribable really be described? Only your heart will truly understand. Every saint, sage, scripture, religion will see the Lords descent in their own unique way, but one reason is agreed on by all – Whenever there is a decline of righteousness (dharma), and an increase of unrighteousness (adharma), the Lord manifests for the welfare of all beings.
Lord Shiva has begun his beautiful narration to his wife Uma. The very first point he addresses is the descent of Shri Rama. The words used are almost identical to those used by the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna says:
“Whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails, I manifest Myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good I come from Yuga (age) to Yuga (age).”
This message elevates dharma as a principle of paramount importance. Without dharma, the world would just be the law of the fishes, where the bigger fish simply swallow the smaller fish. I take great inspiration from this first of Lord Shiva’s words about the Ramayana and from the Gita verse. It is for the welfare of all that God descends to Earth, and if we are to be servants of God, it is the welfare of all that we should be deeply concerned with. Dharma is the that which is best for all living beings.