Q&A about the Fundamentals of the Sanatana Dharma

Fundamental Q&A about The Advaita Vedanta Philosophy of the Sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism.

This presentation contains a set of 23 questions asked by some of the visitors to this site and their respective answers from me. They are primarily the most common questions people have regarding the Sanatana Dharma, which in no way is any organised religion. It is an ancient yet rational philosophy that has evolved over many millennia thanks to the contribution of great people including highly accomplished sages, and it has been handed down to the present generation of people by our forefathers who preserved it in order for us to benefit from it.

However, care needs to be taken to avoid its very essence of being nondualistic from being altered and doctored by certain groups of people and religious organisations with vested interests or due to sheer ignorance. Doing so leads to major misunderstandings about the supreme philosophy of the Advaita Vedanta, which, when translated, means the ‘Nondualistic (path) towards the end or the goal of knowledge.’

Going through all the 23 questions and answers is recommended, however, timestamps for easy navigation to individual questions have been provided in the description box of the Video;
(The next presentation will be on Karma and the “Why me” question.)

The 23 questions:
Q   1 What does “Sanatana Dharma” mean?
Q   2 What is the actual name of the Sanatana Dharma? Is it not Hinduism?
Q   3 What kind of a religion is the Sanatana Dharma? Is it based on polytheism,
monotheism or any other concept? Please explain in detail.
Q   4 Who is God? Why do we have so many Gods and Goddesses?
Q   5 What about the 33 ‘crore’ Gods in Hinduism?
Q   6 Which are the Hindu scriptures that need to be read and followed?
Q   7 Who is the real “I”? Am I the Atman?
Q   8 What is the difference between Atman and Prana or life force?
Q   9 Am I the Atman, the mind, or the senses or a collection of all of them? 
Q 10 What is the difference between mind and intellect? Which one is superior? 
Q 11 Who is the doer and who is the enjoyer?
Q 12 At whose command do we all perform actions?
Q 13 Does Karma work like “Every action has a reaction” ie., does Karma take effect immediately?
Q 14 Why do bad things happen to good people and good things to bad people?
Q 15 Why do some people get over bad Karma quickly against some who keep struggling?
Q 16 ‘Many Karmas’ have happened before one got to know Krishna, about the Self and the Dharmic philosophy – so who is to ‘blame’ for this ignorance?
Q 17 Can Krishna and Bhakti towards Him alter our path decided by past Karmas?
Q 18 What does true surrendering mean?  How do we test ourselves whether we have fully surrendered? 
Q 19 Which Gods should I  pray to? ‘Demigods’ or Krishna the most superior One?
Q 20 What is the true process of Bhakti: idol/temple worship, reciting Mantras and which Mantras? 
Q 21 Why do many Westerners, who are not ‘linked’ to the Dharmic philosophy continue to be good souls?
Q 22 What happens after death?
Q 23 Can you give us some simple and practical steps that common people could follow in order to balance their Karma?