Mercedes De Acosta was asking Sri Ramana Maharshi about which religion, teacher, or guru she should follow that would be most helpful to her.
Bhagavan Ramana replied, “If they can help in the quest of the Self. But can they help? Can religion, which teaches you to look outside yourself, which promises a heaven and a reward outside yourself, can this help you? It is only by diving deep into the spiritual Heart that one can find the Self.”
Sri Ramana used to say that wherever we go, our mind follows. We cannot escape our troubled mind riddled with endless concerns, anxieties, and fears. Even if we run away to a forest or some holy place or sanctuary, the mind is still with us.
Truly, the conflicted and conditioned mind is like our shadow.
It is the ancient teaching of sages and scriptures that our mental state at the time of death determines our next birth. If at the time of death, we fully surrender to the Lord, the Universal Being, then we merge in God and are freed from all sorrows.
We usually think of that at the time of death what we have loved and thought about during life. Hence the purest souls who have devoted their whole life to serving the God of Love merge in that Universal Love immediately at the time of death and achieve complete liberation.