Chapter Sixteen: Purple-Gowned
“All men come to know this hunger in the end,” my earth-guide said. At first, many of them think they want other things—the company of friends, the fulfilment of wishes. . . At last, when they have had all these and still their hunger is unappeased, they seek Him whom their soul loveth. Then they come to know the truth—that it is only when they have seen Him and may return to Him, that these other joys can satisfy. It is then they go back and enjoy the fulfilment of their dreams a hundredfold.”
I scarcely heeded him. Speeding as we were on our journey, we seemed to make little progress, but at last a faint shining in the distance told me that we were drawing near. I was so eager that I never took my eyes off those gates until we were standing before them; and then my eagerness melted away! I turned, trembling, to my companions.
“Dare I enter in?”
“Have you not helped in the cleansing of your robe?”
“But what is even a cleansed robe before such glory?”
“What, indeed? But be of good courage. The Great Mother will cover you with her cloak.”
“Her cloak?” I echoed. “I thought I had to wear my own robe.”
“You have. But remember that your robe is made of the creative substance, and this, in the Heavenly Language, is called ‘The Robe of the Great Mother’. So you see, your robe is a part of her robe.”
“Think how I have stained it. What will she—”
“Think also that she is a Mother. That is the nature of her cloak—it is the cloak of her motherly love. With this she will enfold you so that your own robe will shine through, and yet be enhanced by the brighter shining of hers. That is how all men dare to enter in.”
“Who is this Great Mother?” I asked.
“Do you think that God the Father would leave His children without a Mother?” That was all he would say, but somehow it satisfied me.
At last my guides cried, “She has come!” and with their reverent cry came the might of a strong wind, the dazzling light of a thousand earth-suns and the combined fragrance of all the flowers that are. I would have fallen on my face, but in this Mighty Presence I was caught and held so strongly, yet with such warmth and tenderness that all my doubts and fears, all my shame and remorse, all my pains and hunger melted quite away. I could only lie in the embrace of the Great Mother and let her carry me where she willed. For a long time, it seemed, I remained thus; and then the sense of movement ceased. I opened my eyes and found myself on my knees beside the beloved Master. He was looking down at me and I was looking up at Him, and all else was forgotten except the beauty and the rapture of it. Did we speak any words—He and I? I do not know; except perhaps that I whispered “Master” over and over, and He murmured “Son”. The words seemed to mingle and merge into a kind of chant, yet over and above this chant, and deeply beneath it, we spoke without words, going fully into the past years I had spent on earth, on the lessons I had learned and how these could be used in Heaven.
This time there was no need for any sorrow or shame, for in all that searching memory there was no sin to be seen and no mark of any kind upon the gleaming robe. I went on gazing up at Him. All my thoughts and ideals of beauty, gentleness and love were as nothing compared with that which I saw. Awed and enraptured, I knew that all my conceptions of strength, justice and truth had been as murky reflections upon a shadowed pool. And then He gathered me into His embrace and blessed me. In that moment I knew I was clothed in the Purple Robe, that an impression of the Heavenly Language had been given me; I knew that He and I would never be parted again, but that I would walk with Him for ever, finding Him always present in that realm within my heart—once so misty, now so concrete and real!
“We will come and make Our abode with him,” sang my soul.
All about me gathered the Purple-Gowned with words of congratulation. Foremost among them was Stephen with that light in his eyes which now I understood so well.
We seemed to have moved away from the Place of Meeting, yet He was with me. . . close, close. He smiled at me and I at Him. Breathing deeply, I drew of His strength and knew that I would never be weak, sad or lonely again. At the outer fringe of the circle waited many who were clad in white; they all fell on their knees for a blessing. For a moment I drew back, startled, but the Master lifted and guided my hand over those bowed heads.
For a long while I seemed to journey on alone, wrapped in my blissful dreams; and then my two guides joined me to say farewell.
“You do not need us now that you have seen Him,” they said, and when I asked what they were going to do next, “We go to receive a newcomer!”