As it is true that the supreme Lord is only one and absolute, why are there different types of religious followers?
If food is meant only to satisfy hunger, then why do we have so many varieties?
If clothes are meant only to cover our body, then why are there so many models and designs of them?
If houses are meant only for shelter, then why are there so many varieties in them?
It is because human beings like varieties to suit their tastes. In the same way, to reach the one supreme Lord, there are different ways and means. One can choose one particular path according to his taste and stick on to it.
How do we know that Bhagavan’s grace is there or not? Do we get any signs? If all our effort will become useless since Bhagavan’s grace is missing, what is the use in putting in the effort?
In order to achieve worldly comforts as well as to attain God, both His Grace and your efforts are required. A farmer who puts in his best efforts by ploughing the field, sowing seeds and manuring, will still not able to do a good harvest, if it does not rain at the right time. Thorough inundation by means of rains on an unploughed arid land will do no good either. A combination of proper efforts (by means of ploughing, sowing and manuring) and grace (by means of rains at the appropriate rime), makes one successful.
Now how do we know that we get the Lord’s grace?
When we say that we need God’s grace irrespective of the efforts we put in to attain the Lord, this is what is meant:
As long as you feel that you are putting in efforts and you are responsible for your Sadhanas, you will not be able to attain Him. The moment, you start to feel that everything is happening by the Lord’s grace; it is He who instigates and empowers you to perform Sadhanas, then you can be pretty sure that your efforts are not in vain.
That feeling is verily the indication that you are a recipient of the Lord’s grace.
What is the way to attain God or see Him?
God is right within us. He is always available within us and waiting patiently for us to turn towards Him within. Easiest way is to surrender to him and chant His Names constantly with an earnest prayer to have His ‘vision’.
Our religion says that the supreme God is one and is beyond name and form. Why then does our scriptures talk about so many Devas, Demigods and the like?
Yes there is no second opinion about the fact that the Supreme is the Brahman which is beyond name and form. But as long as we live and perceive that the physical body and the external world to be real, we take help from so many things in theis world. The tree gives us shelter. The bees collect honey which we use. The crops give us grains. The same way the Devas and the like are higher beings by pleasing whom we could have our wishes granted. Owing to their superior powers and ability to fulfill wishes these higher beings are referred to as Devas and sometimes offered the status of God. But the fact is, the end point of religion is the one Supreme God alone.
Have you seen God?
If God knows what is bad and what is good, why does he often test his disciples?
As you have said, God knows what is good and what is bad. He wants to confirm with his disciples if they have understood what is good and what is bad. That is why He tests them.
Why does God need to be praised with Nama Kirtan being done non-stop? It is similar to politicians’ request during election, is it not? Why do people have to contribute in Hundis or to the priest when it is God’s responsibility to protect the man serving Him?
God is ‘Stuti Priyan’. If you chant the Names of God, He bestows benediction to you. Some chant the Names in gratitude to the Lord, for they look at themselves and feel grateful for what is endowed to them by Him. These people are higher class of devotees. God’s responsibility to humans are like a father’s responsibilities to ensure child grows properly. No father would like to spoon-feed the child all his life, and in doing so would spoil the chances of his child standing in his own legs.
God has many ways of protecting his devotees, he also gives you and me a chance to participate in his endeavor! Why should god preclude humans in doing his job?
We usually remember God when we go through tough times in our lives. Isn’t this like ‘latching’ on to God to escape the reality of the situation? Were God and His forms created (or invented) to help people in distressed situations? Is there really a Krishna or a Vishnu? If so, how are they different from the ultimate truth?
God is ‘what is’. We can’t ‘latch’ on to God to escape ‘what is’! God and his forms were certainly not created for convenience! Whatever is real is Krishna! Are you for real? The real ‘reality’ in you is Krishna. Like light is both a particle and a wave and exhibits its property depending on the context! Krishna is with a beautiful form and beyond form in the same token. This is not what intellect is trained to see. So it refuses to accept. Krishna is indeed beyond our little intellect. Krishna can be realized only by pure love. That love, can sprout only by his grace. His grace descends when we chant the Mahamantra. Mechanical chanting is the only starting point we can attempt. It matures to love by grace.
What is God? Where is He?
Pure bliss and consciousness is God. He is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient.
Do all the names Ganesha, Muruga, Shiva, Vishnu, Ayyapa, point to the same God? Or is it true that Krishna is the Supreme God and others are Demigods or devotees of Krishna?
In our Sanathana Dharma, there are many schools of thought. According to one of them, Vishnu is the supreme. Another claims that Shiva is the Supreme. Similarly, there are schools that claim supremacy of Devi, Surya, Ganapathy and Muruga. One cannot be compelled or convinced to sign into one school of thought. It is upto his own taste and interest, and above all his luck.