Lord Rama in the initial years of his vanavaasa (exile) spent with Bharadvaaja, Sarabhanga, Sutikshana. These add up to no more than one year. [Source Vaalmiki Ramayana].
The last part of his exile started with his moving to Panchavati, where He fought with Khara-Dushana and ended with the killing of Maricha and abduction of Sita. This last part is no more than 6-8 months (source Vaalmiki Ramanaya).
It does not hurt our main thesis, even if we add up the total time of the above two periods to be around two years. The question remains: What did he exactly do during the intervening years? What Sadhana did he do? It can be assumed that He (with Sita and Lakshmana) went around in the Ashram's of Maharshi's. What did Rama learn during those years? What did he teach during those years? What did he do during those years? The question is important in a Vedantic perspective. Assuming a Vishnu incarnation, who chooses to bear the difficulties of "ordinary men", assuming that the killing of Asuras was easy for him (because of his incarnation as well as his previous learning from Vishvamitra et al) and needed no prior preparation and particular sadhana, What did the supreme being do in human form do?
Kind reader: please help me answering these questions.
The Vaalmiki Ramayana does not talk much about these years. All it says is "He spent time with Maharshis for 10 or so years." What else happened?
The Adhyatma Ramanaya may talk, but in a way is contradictory to the premise of the question. This is because, in Adhyama Ramayana, Rama is Vishnu, the para Brahman himself. Applying doership of Karma -- however sacred it is, like Sadhana and learning -- is far from contraditions (my opinion). So my question stands. [I would however verify more on this, the moment I get a copy of Adhyama Ramayana in my hands.]