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.

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.

What is the best boon to ask for from God? Is it good to pray to Him with the thought “Oh Lord! Give me what ever you wish for”?

If God appears before you, do not ask him for wealth, remedy for suffering, power, fame or anything worldly. Also, do not ask him for the attainment of the purpose of life as per Advaita, Vishishtadvaita , Dvaita or such high philosophies. Just ask him one simple thing. Ask him to give Himself to you. That is the best prayer to ask God.

Is God personal or Impersonal? If impersonal what is the necessity of idol worship?

The Lord is omnipresent and all-pervading. He is full of consciousness and knowledge. It is not possible for a ‘jeeva’ to visualize such a ‘God’. So it is easy and convenient for him to worship God in the form of an idol.
The omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient Lord understands his worship and out of sheer mercy makes the ‘jeeva’ realize Him through the idol.

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? Some even make fun of this. How come there are so many Gods as per our tradition?

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 this world.
The tree gives us shelter and fruits. The dog guards the house. The horses and bulls work for us. The cow gives us milk. The bees collect honey which we use. The crops give us grains. We derive various favours from all these beings. Some beings like snakes and scorpions harm us. The same way the Devas and the like are higher beings by pleasing whom we could have our wishes granted. Some may grant us children. Some may bless us with wealth. There are some evil beings that may harm us. 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 as is common practice amongst people to call any great soul, rishi or sage as God himself.
But the fact is, the end point of religion is the one Supreme God alone.

Good morning! I am ten years old. My mom says god created us. I want to know who created GOD.

Dear child, If I tell you who created God, you will then ask me who created Him. So the answer is ‘you’.

Will a mentally retarded person know about God? How do we make them understand this? I believe that they are very near to God even if their birth is deprived of the normal activities.

Those who were born as mentally retarded people in this birth were great sadhaks in their previous birth. In spite of their Sadhanas, due to the wrongs that they might have committed, they are born so in this birth. They don’t accrue any merits (‘punya’) or sins during this period. After having experienced the fruits of their past deeds, they attain liberation.

Even though I believe in God, I struggle a lot. Does my fate play such an important role in my life?

One has to believe that the Lord exists. But it should not stop there. One should have total faith in Him and invoke His divine grace by chanting the Maha Mantra. In that state, the fate will not matter anymore.