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 are the ways to see God directly?

There are infinite ways to attain the infinite.

What is a God? Is it real or just a thing?

God is not even real. He is beyond that. He is the reality behind all we ‘think’ or see or hear or smell or touch or feel or speak.

I am heavily disturbed by the sufferings in life. Vedanta says the world is a dream. Some say that God created everything and it is He who gave us all the troubles and pleasures. Others say that we are responsible for our own doings and should not blame God. Why is life so complicated? Why is there so much confusion in life? Can’t it be all simple? Can’t I see God as a good and open mind? Can’t I treat him as my best friend, philosopher and guide? Can I not look unto him for motherly affection?

Since time immemorial, there are different schools of thoughts:
‘Lokayatham’ is a school of thought which says that one does not need to bother about what is not seen and experienced, and enjoy the world as long as you are in it. It neither accepts nor disputes God.
‘Nasthikam’ is a school of thought that does not accept God.
‘Iyarkaivaadam’ is an argument which claims that the Nature is the reason for all creation. That is, there is no Creator or God, and that everything evolved of its own.
‘Aasthikam’ is the school that believes in the existence of the supreme power – the Creator. Even after knowing and accepting Lord, there are two types of people, one, those who seek Lord by following the prescribed paths shown in scriptures and the second, those who do not yearn to attain Lord, but lead a worldly life and pray to Lord for material gains alone.
Even if millions of people shout aloud and proclaim the existence of a non-existent thing, it will not come in to existence. Similarly even if millions of people join hands and deny a thing which does exist it will not cease to exist. Like wise even with thousand philosophies if any one denies Lord it is not the loss for Lord but for the person who denies it
One need not accept anything blindly but should accept the right path after questioning and obtaining suitable answers. But questioning and finding the answers alone will not lead to Lord. At a particular stage, one should stop questioning and travel in the direction shown by answers obtained.
For example reading the sign board again and again and questioning the way again and again one will never reach the destination. In fact that doesn’t take us even an inch forward. One has to travel in the direction shown to them to reach the destination.
Doing such rational enquiry and following the direction shown by the scriptures, one can conclude that the end is to awaken the Divinity within oneself – the infinite bliss. To awaken the Divinity and experience the infinite bliss, there are different paths. But one has to identify the path suitable to them and work in the direction. As you say that you want a simple way out, you should put your efforts in the right direction.
The right direction, which is tried and tested, is Chanting the Divine Name – a path shown by our scriptures which can be followed by one and all in the present age and living conditions. God’s Name and God are one and the same according to our scriptures and as experienced, taught and propagated by various Mahatmas. Chanting the Name of the Lord is the easiest and surest path as there is no scope for any negative effects. Faith, practice of Nama Kirtan (Chanting the Name of Lord) and surrender to the Lord is the easiest way for liberation
This is the simplest and the most straightforward path, best suited for this age, without you having to renounce or forsake anything and still experience exactly the same supreme state of Liberation. As you proceed in this path, you can feel your love and devotion for God increasing day by day and you can realize Him just like you wanted to – the best friend, philosopher and guide.
All the souls in this world are born to attain liberation. Even if we do not work for it now and attain it today, we definitely HAVE TO attain the same some day. If it so, why not now?