Question: Is faith something that is given to an individual or something which the individual can acquire through his own actions?

Sri Chinmoy: Everybody has been blessed with faith. Some have much faith; some have little faith. There is nobody on earth who has no faith, either in himself or in God. But what happens? Ignorance or darkness has eclipsed our faith. Again, faith can come out of the meshes of ignorance.

If we pray or meditate we can increase our faith. It is like a muscle. If we take exercise, we develop the muscle. Inner faith also can be expanded. There are many who enter into the spiritual life out of curiosity. They have very little faith. But they go on; they continue, continue. Then later on they feel within themselves deeper faith, greater faith, more fulfilling faith. So, when one sticks to the spiritual path, one is bound to have more faith.

Faith in oneself and faith in God are both of paramount importance. If somebody says he has faith only in God and not in himself, well, he cannot go very far. If he says he has faith only in himself and not in God; if he acts like Julius Caesar and starts saying, "I came, I saw, I conquered — Veni, vidi, vici," he will eventually be lost totally in the evolving process of time. There is no God. It is all mind. No, we have to feel faith both in ourselves and in God. To have faith in God is not so difficult. It is comparatively easy. Why? We know, we feel that God is infinitely better than we are. He is infinitely more powerful than we are. He is infinitely more compassionate than we are. We feel that He is boundless in every way. So it is easy for us to have faith in God who surpasses us in everything. But, we have to know that we must have faith in ourselves too. Yes, God may be superior to us in every way, but how are we going to have His qualities unless and until we have abundant faith in ourselves, in our receptivity, in the power of divinely surrendered acceptance?

If I say that somebody is superior to me in science or in spirituality, then, just by having a little faith in his achievements, I cannot achieve his qualities. I have to also have faith in myself. I have to believe that one day I can also be like him, a great scientist or a spiritual Master. So, it is only when I have total faith in myself that the divine possibilities I have within me can easily be transformed into divine reality. We are singing the song of possibility with our limited faith. Here something may happen, or something may not happen. But, when we are endowed with boundless faith, constant faith, it is not mere possibility, but it is nothing short of inevitability. At that time we feel that God-realisation is our birthright.