The purpose of Shri Ram going to the forest had many reasons. His incarnation was to save destroy the demons majorly residing in the Dandak forest and were causing trouble to the great Rishis doing their penance in the forest. The compassionate God also wanted to depict the fact that the bhakti has so much of strength that God himself comes at the door of the devotees when in need. The devotion of the sages was so pure and strong that Shri Ram during his stay in the exile goes to all his devotees and blesses them with this infinite grace.
Right at the beginning when he starts his exile period, Shri Ram visits Rishi Bhardwaj in his ashram. Bhardwaj receives him with great affection and advises to spend his exile near Chitrakut. Later, Shri Ram crosses River Yamuna and visits Rishi Valmiki. Rishi Valmiki, who was blessed by Bramhma Ji and Rishi Narad to write the Adi Kavya Ramayan on Shri Ram, is blessed to have a darshan of the hero of his epic and his ultimate God. He praises glories that Shri Ram is the custodian of the universe, Mata Sita is the divine energy and Lakshmana is the bearer of the whole universe on his hood as Seshnag, and these three powers have set out on their journey to destroy the wicked demons.
At Chitrakut, the tribal folk and the disciples of Rishi Valmiki arrange for their stay by building a hermitage on the banks of River Mandakini. Shri Ram with Mata Sita and Lakshman start residing there enjoying the beautiful nature around Chitrakut. Later, Bharat visits them. After the unsuccessful attempt of Bharat to get back Shri Ram to Ayodhya, he goes back with Shri Ram’s padukas.
As the memories of Bharat’s visit keep coming back to Shri Ram, the three leave Chitrakut and travel into the interior dense forests of Dandak van. They call upon the great Rishi Atri and his pious wife Sati Anasuya. The revered sage Atri who looks upon Shri Ram as his son rejoices rushes to receive him.
The three take the blessings of Sati Anasuya. Sati Anasuya was known for her devotion towards her husband and her great powers were praised by the divine trinity themselves. Her meditational powers were so powerful that she once had transformed Bramha Ji, Bhagwan Shiv and Bhagwan Vishnu into little babies and fondled them as their mother. Pleased by her power and intelligence, the trinity merged into one form and were born as Dattatreya to the great couple. Shri Ram pays his respects to her and explained to Mata Sita about her greatness.
Sati Anasuya welcomes Mata Sita as her daughter and explains her many principles of being a devoted wife. She gives divine clothes and ornaments to Sita, which would always give her radiance and fill Shri Ram’s heart with happiness. Rishi Atri mentions to Shri Ram about how the demons were causing havoc in the Dandak Van On this, Shri Ram promises the Rishi that during his fourteen years of exile, his aim would be to free the Dandak Van from the demons and make it a safe place for the rishis. He seeks guidance from the sage how to journey in the forest to fulfil his purpose. Shri Ram stays for a night in sage Atri’s ashram and the divine couple feel blessed that indeed their ashram has become Vaikunth Dham for that day.