What musical instruments have been referred to, even in our Vedas?

Veena, Venu (flute) and Mridangam


How many years did the divine avatar of Lord Krishna last on earth?

125 Years.

After Sri Krishna disappeared from the Earth, He is said to have entered into Srimad Bhagavatam. Hence Srimad Bhagavatam is verily Sri Krishna.

In Ramayana, what is the name of Sita Devi's mother (King Janaka's wife)?


In Ramayana, why did Sri Rama kill Vali, hiding behind a tree?

Who was Ravana? Ravana was the one who confiscated Sita Devi, the lovable wife of Sri Rama. Even when Sri Rama faced Ravana, He turned him back saying ‘Indru POi NALai Vaa’ (Go back and return tomorrow’). Why did he do so? An ocean of infinite compassion that He was, Sri Rama waited to see if Ravana surrendered to Him, or at least befriended Him, so that He could let go of Ravana. How can such an ocean of mercy kill Vali from the hiding?

Sri Rama neither avowed to Himself (‘sankalpa’) nor promised anyone that He would kill Ravana. However, in the case of Vali, He had promised Sugriva that He would slay Vali. Thus, when the result was pre-decided, had Sri Rama waged a battle with Vali, Vali would have brought a huge ‘vanara sena’ (army of monkeys), and they would be killed in the battle for no fault or reason. Out of sheer compassion for those monkeys, Sri Rama decided that He would kill Vali from the hiding, very well aware that He would be blamed for doing so, for centuries and centuries to go.

There is another connotation to it too:

Sri Rama was an avatar of Maha Vishnu, the supreme Lord. Hanuman was the Guru of Sugriva. It is the Guru who shows the Lord to the disciple and so did Hanuman bring Sri Rama unto Sugriva. Not only that; through God, the Guru fulfils the disciple’s wish.

Here Valmiki underlines a very important fact – “The Lord will do anything to keep up the word of the Guru, unmindful of the consequences”. That was the reason Sri Rama killed Vali from behind the tree.

Another interesting fact is being subtly painted by Valmiki here: Sugriva does not show as much love, obedience, devotion and respect to Sri Rama as Hanuman did. This shows that, these factors are more important for the Guru than for the disciple himself, and that, the Lord will keep up Guru’s words, even if the devotee does not confide in Him completely.

The essence of the Vedas is given in the Gita and the Ramayan. Moreover they are easier to follow than the Vedas. If someone follows these texts, then why bother about the Vedas? Is it not creating more confusion than we already have?

It is not just the meaning of the verses in the Vedas that are significant. The sound of the Vedic chants is very significant. The vibrations caused by the Vedic chants are very powerful. That is the reason why the Vedas can’t be forsaken.

Please tell me about Lord Krishna’s birth time history.

Those with a research mindset are concerned about ‘history’. True devotees of the Lord are concerned only about ‘His story’.

It is rather confusing when you say that Lord Shiva was chanting the Divine Name of Rama. It has been stated in all the scriptures that Lord Shiva existed long before the birth of Lord Rama. Please explain.

Rama is not merely the name of a character in our Itihasas. It is a Mantra, just like the ‘Pranava’ Mantra (Om). The great Sage Vashishta chanted this mantra for a very long time.

Hence he named Dasharata’s first child with the name of his favourite mantra, knowing well that he is verily Lord Vishnu’s incarnation.

The entire cosmos reverberates to the tune of Rama Nama only. In fact, the all-pervading Rama Nama existed even before the Universe was formed. So it is incorrect to believe that the Rama Nama came into existence only via Ramayana.

It is generally said that Kalki Avatar is God’s last avatar. Has He taken this avatar yet? If not, when will it happen?

The Lord has not taken Kalki avatar yet. He will not take this Avatar for a long time to come and hence we will not be able to see it in our lifetime.

Is the reading of ‘Chatusloki Bhagavata’ equivalent to reading the entire ‘Bhagavata’? How many lines will be there in 'chathusloka bhagavatha'

Comprising of a total of 7 verses, this is the ‘bheeja’ (seed) of Bhagavatam.

In order to provide vitamins to his body, a person takes vitamin tablets. Yet another takes delicious foods filled with vitamins to satisfy the same goal. Now, both tablets and delicious foods are means to the same goal of acquiring vitamins. But isn’t the latter more enjoyable and a pleasant method?

Reading the entire Bhagavatam is akin to the latter means of vitamin intake, where we read Bhagavatam with not only ‘punya’ in mind, but also for the blissful experience of reading it.

Lord Vishnu has taken the Rama avatar. In that He experiences sorrows and sufferings. For example, by His power, He could have easily found out where Sita is and He did not require Hanuman to search the whole of Lanka and find Her finally at Ashoka Vana! He could have directly appeared in Lanka instead of building the bridge! But why does He undergo those difficulties?

Rama Avatar was an avatar in which the Lord came down on earth to live the life of a human being and show us how one can stick on to Dharma by leading a human life. Hence He did not use any of His godly powers.

Bhagavat Gita says that the death is only for our body and not for our our soul. Then why do we talk about life-after-death?

Death, here, relates to the death of the physical body.

There are two other bodies, the 'sukshma sarira' (astral body) and the 'karana sarira' (causal body) in addition to the 'sthula sarira' (physical body). The state of liberation is when the soul is separated from all the three types of bodies, the physical, astral and causal. Just as the mind and 'vasanas' remain with the physical body, they continue to remain with the other two bodies too, even after the physical body falls. So, to get out of the cycle of births and deaths, the mind has to be destroyed.

Apart from Booloka there are 6 lokas, totaling seven lokas. Where are they? Does human mankind dwell there like on earth?

These lokas are in different astral plane. As mind elevates from its inert nature and becomes more and more sensitive, you can understand the nature of these lokas. Jivas definitely exist there but not in the form you imagine.

Sri Krishna defies idol worship in many verses of the Gita. He states it is inferior form of worship done by ignorant people. Can you please give the verses of the Gita regarding idol worship?

Please listen to the first sloka in the “Bhakti Yoga” chapter of the Gita, which is Arjuna’s question, and the subsequent Slokas, which are the Lord’s response to Arjuna’s question. That will answer your question.

In the Bhagavat Gita, Arjuna tells Sri Krishna that he is not able to control his mind in meditation. In Mahabharatha, it is said that the same performed penances and obtained divine weapons from Lord Shiva. Is this not contradictory?

If the goal of a Sadhana is materialistic and is necessary for one’s daily life, then a person will try to go beyond his means to perform the Sadhana to attain the end-product. A weapon is something that is mandatory for any ‘Kshatriya’ (warrior). Hence Arjuna was able to perform any amount of penance in order to obtain it.

However, what is being talked of as the goal in the Bhagavat Gita is liberation or Moksha. This is something totally tangential to the material life; something that has never been experienced by the seeker. Controlling the mind and pointing it towards the direction of something abstract is not easy. That is what Arjuna means when he poses the question to Sri Krishna.

In Garuda Purana there is a description about the various hells in which the soul suffers after death. When a human dies because of an accident, his soul is said to suffer from unbearable pain. How can a soul suffer from pain or unbearable suffering as soul is feelingless and emotionless?

Many a time, the soul is confused with the astral body. Let me explain this in a little more detail:

The human body is only one of the five layers or sheaths of a human being. Beyond the physical body, there is sheath of ‘prana’ or the life force. The sheath of ‘manas’ or mind is the next layer. Then comes the sheath of the ‘buddhi’ or the intellect. Beyond all these four layers is the ‘kaarana sarira’ or the subtle body.

These are the five sheaths covering the innermost pure Being called as the ‘Atman’.

The soul is liberated only if these five layers are ripped apart. During death, only the outer most layer (physical body or the ‘sthula sarira’) falls and the other layers remain intact. In English, the body without the physical form is called astral body. It is this body that enjoys or suffers the happiness or sorrow in the life after death

If one successfully sheds all the five sheaths covering the Atman,during his lifetime, he becomes a Jivan Mukta.

Our scriptures state that there are 14 lokas. Are these lokas real or just conceptual? If they are real, where are these Lokas situated?

These lokas are existent. When we look at the sky the stars,sun and the moon seem as small dots. Science also has it that there are innumerable stars that are not even visible to the naked eye. However, when we look through a telescope, we are able to see these far away objects more clearly, aren’t we?

In the same way, human mind, in its normal state will not be able to perceive the other lokas. When the sensitivity of the mind increases, it will start perceiving the artifacts that are not within its normal limits of perception. This is called ‘divya drushti’ in Sanskrit. The mind can be made more sensitive by proper spiritual practices.

We read about so many kings and other characters in our Puranas. Are they mythical or have they lived on this earth?

If the Puranas and Itihasas say that they have lived on this earth, these characters have truly lived on this earth. There is no doubt about it.

In Ramayana, was it right on Sri Rama's part to heed to the words of a dhobi (washer man) and send Sita Devi to the forest?

"When Sri Rama and Sita Devi engaged in a conversation during their happy times, Sita Devi expressed her desire to revisit the forests where they spent their time during the ‘vana vas’. A great ‘pativrata’ that she was, how could her desire go unfulfilled?

The Dhobi was just an instrument to make this happen.

Sita Devi is the daughter of Mother earth. Sage Valmiki also came from the Earth (he came from an anthill which is nothing but earth), and hence is her brother. It is a normal routine for a pregnant woman to go to her parents’ place for delivery. So Sita Devi went to the forests and hence to Valmiki’s Ashram as it was her own home.

It has been said that it is benign for a pregnant mother to be in the presence of Saints and Sages during pregnancy. This helps a lot in the spiritual growth and development of the child. Sri Rama wanted her wife to be in the presence of the great Sage Valmiki during her pregnancy and hence sent her to the forest. The Dhobi was just an instrument to make this happen.

Lava and Kusha who were born in Sage Valmiki’s Ashram were instrumental in taking the Ramayana to Sri Rama Himself! It is this Ramayana which ultimately united Sri Rama and Sita Devi. This would not have happened had they not grown up in Sage Valmiki’s Ashram.

The Dhobi was just an instrument to make this happen.

From a different perspective, Sri Rama still remains in the hearts of millions of men for the great sacrifice of sending his most beloved one to the forests. Sita Devi has captured the hearts of millions of women till date by sincerely following her husband’s words and leading a simple life in the forest."

Why does Lord Vishnu call the Sama Veda the best of all the Vedas?

Sama veda is the Stuthi portion of Vedas. It sings the praises of devas. This could be the reason that it is liked by the Lord.

Why is the Atharvana Veda not accorded as much importance as the other three Vedas?

The important purpose of the Samhita portion of the Vedas is the performance of Yagnas. The three Vedas – Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas themselves cover the performance of Yagna completely. Atharvana Veda does not have any unique mantra to aid the Yagnas (it does not have any mantra which is not in other Vedas). Hence importance is given only to these three Vedas.

Who is Visvaksena?

Visvaksena is the Lord who resides in the Mooladhara.

Scriptures say that Lakshmana in Ramayana is an avatar of Aadhi Sesha and Balarama is also an avatar of Aadhi Sesha. When we say the ten avatars of Vishnu, why do we include Balarama and exclude Lakshmana?

Since the time the world came into existence till date, the Lord has taken infinite avatars. Even in Srimad Bhagavatam, we see that God appeared before the child Dhruva, the elephant Gajendra and so on. The Purana also talks about Avatars like Hamsa, Hayagreeva etc.

For the sake of limiting the number, in general, it has been restricted to ten.

A few see Vamana as an avatar and Trivikrama as another. A few say that Krishna is the Supreme Avatar and all other avatars originated from Sri Krishna. Some do not accept the Buddha as an avatar as he did not believe in the Vedas.

These beliefs are purely based on the devotee’s conviction. The premise still remains that God’s avatars are infinite.

How many ancient authentic commentaries are available for Srimad Bhagavatam?

There are 18 commentaries.

Why did Sita Devi ask Rama to kill the deer which was very beautiful?

Sita Devi did not ask Sri Rama to kill the deer. As the deer was so beautiful, she wanted to have it for herself. Hence she asked Sri Rama to capture the deer and get it for her

Could you please tell us the names of the 18 Puranas written by Veda Vyasa?

Siva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Matsya Purana, Kurma Purana – these are Shaiva Puranas.

Vishnu Purana, Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Naradeeya Purana, Garuda, Paadma Purana , Varaha Purana – These are Vaishnava Puranas.

The Brahma Puranas are Brahma Purana,Brahmaanda Purana, Brahma Vaivartha Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana and Vamana Purana.

Listening to Raasa Lila from Bhagavatam is a cure for lust. Similarly which part of Bhagavatam should be listened/read for cure from anger, greed and jealousy?

The entire Bhagavatam. Read it fully. It is good for you.

Sri Veda Vyasa was born during Krishna's time. So, the Vedas must have been divided into 4 during this time. But there is a reference to Rigveda, Yajurveda in Ramayanam itself. Please explain.

We know that there are 18 chapters in the Bhagavat Gita. Now someone splits each of these 18 chapters into a book each, and publishes 18 books. By doing so, does the fact that these chapters exist as titles in the wholesome work called Bhagavat Gita not exist anymore?

Likewise, the 4 portions of the Vedas existed since eternity. Rig Veda contains mantras for inviting the Devas for the sacrifices and some prayers. Sama Vedas is Rig Veda set to a tune. Yajur Veda Mantras deal with the procedure of the sacrifices (‘yagnas’). So these

It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam that Veda Vyasa, foreseeing that the people in Kali Yuga will not be capable of learning and preserving the entire Vedas, separated them into the four sections and assigned ownership to each section. That does not mean that these four sections did not exist earlier.

In the Gita it is said that Arjuna was given divine vision to see the Lord’s viswarupa and he could witness the future. Did he not see that his son would die in the battlefield? Why was he panicked after Abhimanyu was killed?

A person is diagnosed for diabetes and is instructed not to take sugar as it would affect the kidneys and eyes. Just as he returns home from the clinic, someone offers him his favourite sweet. Now there is a conflict between his mind and heart. His mind strictly forbids him from giving in, while his heart longs for the sweetmeat and instructs him to go for it.

This is a typical conflict between emotions and intellect that we witness everyday.

In almost all of the cases, emotions win. Only a very few people have a conflict-free emotion and intellect.

Emotions, are required, for, without them, one is a mere robot. They make life pleasant as long as they are sensible and within limits.

So, merely knowing through the intellect about his son’s fate did not preclude Arjuna from grieving his son’s loss, which was born out of emotions.

A man hears from an astrologer that his son will die in 10 years according to destiny. Would the father not be sad after the incident really happened 10 years hence, just because he knew it in advance? As a matter of fact, anticipating grief to strike is more painful than taking it as it comes, is it not?

The same was the case with Arjuna.

Do our holy Texts (the Vedas and the Upanishads) prohibit us from singing Vande Mataram?

One school of thought says that God is separate from us. This states that He has a separate place to live and has His own activities. The other school of thought (which is what the Vedas and the Upanishads speak of) attributes the entire Creation to God. All that we see, hear, smell, taste and feel through our five senses namely eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin respectively, are nothing but Him. It is He who manifests Himself as the 5 Bhutas viz. the land, water, fire, air and space. No two entities are separate in this Universe. All of them are interlinked by the very consciousness, which is the Supreme Being. Thus it is verily the Almighty who manifests in all forms.

Thus when you sing the Vande Mataram, you are verily worshipping the Almighty.

I read about Amrutha Mathan. There we see that the Devas and Asuras jointly indulged in stirring the ocean to get the ‘Amrut’. When that is the case, isn’t it unfair to give the ‘amrut’ only to the Devas and deceive the Asuras? If you and me are in a joint business venture and I take all the profit for myself, is it justified?

Once a few police officers arrested a group of rowdies and took them along. Suddenly, all their weapons fell into a nearby well by accident. If they got into the well to fetch the weapons, the rowdies would flee. Not knowing what to do, the police officials consulted an intelligent person in the locality for ideas. He said, ‘It is not possible for your people to get the weapons all by yourself. You need the support of the rowdies too. Offer them a few weapons in return for their help and they will be glad to help’. The police officials followed this advice and together they ventured into the well to retrieve all the weapons. No sooner had they retrieved all the weapons than they clipped the wings of the rowdies and shackled them.

In the first chapter of the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, it is said that a heavenly voice ('asarira vaak') foretold Kamsa’s death in the hands of the eighth child of Devaki. What is its purport?

One can see that in the same chapter, the Lord had resolved to incarnate on Earth as Sri Krishna, as the son of Devaki and Vasudeva.

Sri Suka also clearly explains that after giving his sister Devaki in marriage to Vasudeva, Kamsa himself rode the chariot seating the newly wed couple on the back.

The Lord wanted to give the best gift to the person who thus performed service to His parents-to-be! And the best gift that He could give is ‘Jeevan Mukti’ or liberation.

In Bhagavatam, it is said that one could attain God through untainted pure love, fear, enmity, kinship, friendship or devotion. Knowing the demonic nature of Kamsa, the Lord decided that it was impossible for Kamsa to attain the Lord through any Saatvic means and that He had to grant him the supreme state only through ‘bhaya’ or fear (as, by nature, Asuras fear for life).

The heavenly voice was a means of creating a sense of fear in Kamsa. This ‘prana bhaya’ or fear for life towards Krishna loomed large before Kamsa and due to the one-pointedness that he inculcated through fear for Lord Krishna, he could see Krishna anywhere and everywhere. This verily is the true state of Jivan Mukti!

Thus, for having done service to His parents, the Lord gave Kamsa the supreme state of bliss in a way that was most apt for him, and the ‘asarira’ or the heavenly voice was to give the fear to lead him to that state of Jivan Mukti.

Please explain the 69th sloga of the 2nd chapter in Bhagavat Gita.

This should be viewed in two parts. First, the paramarta tattva or Brahman is the night. The liberated one has woken up from ignorance. The ignorant lie asleep unaware of the brahman.

Secondly, the ignorance that views the apparent duality is the night. The ignorant is awake in that night and the Jnani is asleep in the state of supreme consciousness

It is told in the 11th chapter of Bhagavad Gita that Arjuna was given Divya Chaksu and could see what would happen in the future. But it is not mentioned anywhere whether he knew that he would lose his son in the battle. There is a mention about Bhishma, Drona and others entering Sri Krishna's mouth. Is there a mention about Abhimanyu also? Please clarify my doubt.

The words " yodhmukhyaihi" refer to all important warriors. As per Shankara bhashyam, Arjuna sees Abhimnayu's end too during vishwaroopa darshan. After seeing the true form of Sri Krishna, Arjuna is ridden with fear. That fear goes away only after he sees Bhagawan as Parthasarathy again. Just as Bhagavan made Yashodhama forget how she saw the entire cosmos inside his mouth, so too does Bhagavan make Arjuna forget all that he saw when he had viswaroopa darshan.

What is 'Bikshu Gita'? Can you please tell me to whom, by whom and the circumstances when it was taught?

Sri Krishna, having accomplished the work of His 'avatara' in this world, was leaving for His abode. Lord Krishna's minister and His ardent devotee, Uddhava, distressed at the thought of the former's departure, remained at His Lotus Feet. Sri Krishna bestowed innumerable 'upadesas' on him. This is the 'Gita' of Bhagawan to Uddava. The collection of all these 'Upadesas' is Uddhava Gita. One such upadesa is in the form of 'Bhikshu Gita'.

In the course of His dialog with Uddava, Bhagavan Sri Krishna narrated the story of a Bhikshu (renunciate) who talks about how greed, jealousy, craze for wealth and miserliness will lead one towards downfall in material life, spiritual life, as well as the life beyond, after himself realizing this truth.

This song of the Bhikshu is called 'Bhikshu Gita'. It appears in the 23rd chapter of the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.

In Ramaavataar, there was minimal or no loss of life in war to Rama’s side. Whereas in Krishnavataar, in Kurukshetra, the Pandaavas lost all their kids, friends and other relatives fighting on their side, despite the fact that they were on the side of Dharma. Why did that happen?

This is because the main purpose of Krishna Avatar was to reduce ‘Bhu Bhaara’ (population).

Bhagavatam says that the fetus is blessed with consciousness from the 7th month. How does growth take place without the Chaitanya in the baby’s body until the seventh month? I have heard that it is only because of the Chaitanya that we are able to talk, hear, see, sense touches, digest food etc. Please clarify.

The growing fetus is still an integral part of the mother’s body, which possesses Chaitanya and it is because of that the organs of the fetus develop.

Charles Darwin talks about the evolution of life in “Origin of Species”. Do our scriptures talk anything about evolution?

Vedas can be interpreted in line with Darwinian Theory. For instance, the ten Avatars of Vishnu in proper order are ‘Matsya’ – that can survive in water alone, ‘Koorma’ – that can survive in both water and land, ‘Varaha’ – that survives in land alone, ‘Narasimha’ – half lion and half man, and so on.

Another interesting fact in the Sanathana Dharma is that there is a gothra called ‘Kapi Gothra’. As we all know, Gothra specifies the lineage of an individual. ‘Kapi’ in Sanskrit refers to monkey! Is it not in line with Darwin’s theory? However our religion believes that God created all the creatures at once, and not between long intervals as theorized by Darwin.

In Vamana / Trivikrama Avatar, it is said that the Lord measured the earth with feet and placed another His feet on Bali’s head. Does not the earth include Bali’s head too?

If the head were also to be considered as the Earth, then it would mean that the Lord put His feet on the heads of everyone on earth, which is not true.

So, when Bali actually looked down to the earth, he did not see the earth. Instead he only saw the Lord’s feet everywhere.

We read that Sudhama, being a Krishna Bhakta, has 27 children. This is contradicting to the description of Sudhama as ‘Jitendriya’ (one who has control of his senses). Is it not? What is the philosophy behind it?

As per our scriptures, the act of procreation is not for sensory pleasure but to beget progeny. So just like how a ‘jitendriya’ also eats in line with scriptural injunctions, not for the taste but for sustaining vegetative life to realize God, Sudhama also lead a pure life of householder and begot progeny. The scriptures allow this for householder.

Recently, I heard that the global warming would result in the Ice Age which would be catastrophic. Is this the ‘pralaya’ (the great deluge) mentioned in our scriptures?

According to our scriptures, there will not be a Pralaya at the end of the Kali Yuga before the next yuga starts. So your interpretation is incorrect.

I would like to know some details about the nether worlds or the ‘Pathal lok’. Is this within the earth or is it some other planet? If it is a different planet, which one of the 9 planets is it?

Pathal Lok has been described in the Puranas as a place which is more joyful than even the Swarga. It is an astral planet and is not visible to the eyes.

I believe in Hanumanji and worship Lord Rama too but the fact that Sri Rama abandoned Sitaji disturbs me - Please explain me the point behind this "lila’.

Sri Rama sent Sitaji to Valmiki’s Ashram during her pregnancy. The term ‘Valmiki’ in Sanskrit means ‘one who was born from an anthill (which is made out of sand)’, rightly as Valmiki’s life history goes. Sita Devi also was born from the earth. Hence Valmiki and Sita Devi are indeed siblings.

It is a common custom to send a pregnant woman to her parent’s or brother’s place during pregnancy. That is the reason why

Sri Rama sent Sitaji to the forest. Sri Rama might have known from his farsightedness that it probably was not auspicious for them to stay together during their pregnancy. Hence he might have sent her to the forest.

The Puranas say lord Subrahmanya was born to Lord Shiva and Parvati and that Parvati is the sister of lord Vishnu. How can this be true when God is only one? Is this all true or just stories that were created by people over a period of time?

When the Lord Almighty manifests Himself in countless humans and other living forms, what is the wonder that he incarnates as so many God forms?

We see bubbles in water and waves in the sea. There are so many of them, and yet one is not different from the other. The incarnations of God can be compared to them.

My friend says we should not keep ‘Vishnu Puranam’ book at home and should not read it. Please advice.

How can a ‘Purana’ which describes the ‘Leelas’ of Vishnu- the benign and loving protector do any harm to anyone? When a child dies suddenly, then what happens to the soul? If the parents pray for the soul, does it help the soul of the child? Is it the bad karma of parents that takes away the life of a child?

Soul has taken a ‘shirt’ of body. After it sheds one shirt, it takes on another. Prayers are powerful. So, yes! When parents pray for the departed soul, it does help the soul. Each soul works out only its karma.

Bad karma of parents alone does not take the life away from the child. Everyone’s journey is clearly charted out by the divine plan using the mechanism of karma.

Bhagavatam says that Sage Narada instructed Veda Vyasa to write the Purana. As a Guru, Narada gives different mantras to devotees like Prahlada, Dhruva etc. to chant. Why is Mahamantra not mentioned? However, in Kali Santarana Upanishad, the very same Narada questions Brahma about overcoming the effects of Kali and the latter gives the Mahamantra. It is a little confusing to me!

Bhagavatam gives us a simple message that Nama Sankirtan is the way to liberation in Kali Yuga. That is the greatness of this Purana.

Then, the Kali Santarana Upanishad comes to our rescue, stating which specific Nama has to be chanted for liberation, in this Age (Kali Yuga).

How long did the war between Sri Rama and Ravana last?

7 days

It is commonly believed that Adi Sesha incarnated as Lakshmana and as Balarama. Why did he, in Krishna Avatara alone, incarnate as elder to the Lord?

The Puranas have it that Jaya-Vijaya were cursed to be born as demons on the Earth for three births. Thus, they were, at first, born as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. The Lord killed the younger one (Hiranyaksha) first.

In their second birth as Ravana and Kumbakarna, it was Kumbakarna, the younger one, who was slain first by the Lord.

They were Shishupala and Dantavaktra in their third birth. The Lord feared that the demons may avenge Him in the same manner by attempting to kill the younger among his siblings first. Hence, in order to protect Adi Sesha from any trouble caused by the demons, the Lord Himself took birth as the younger one!