A. J. Cooper-Oakley

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Alfred J. Cooper-Oakley was an English Theosophist who went to India with his wife Isabel Cooper-Oakley and H. P. Blavatsky in 1884. According to Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett:

He served for a time as one of the Recording Secretaries of the TS. (Mrs. Cooper-Oakley returned to England in 1885). He became a pupil of T. Subba Row and left the TS when his teacher died. He settled in India and became a schoolteacher. ML, pp. 462, 466-7; LMW I: 113-16; D, p. 566; SH index.[1]

C. Jinarājadāsa wrote of him:

Nothing that Mr. Cooper-Oakley did showed that he ever aspired to chelaship...

Mr. Cooper-Oakley was a Cambridge man and so presumably scholarly; but he was introspective and given to fits of deep depression and gloom. Though he went to India with H.P.B. and stayed at Adyar for some years as assistant to Colonel Olcott, he was tepid in this devotion to Theosophy. He left Adyar to become the Registrar of the University of Madras, and was found one morning dead in bed, due to an overdose of a narcotic. There is nothing on record to show that he ever felt any personal attachment to H.P.B.[2]

Master Koot Hoomi wrote to Madame Blavatsky that Colonel Henry S. Olcott had treated the "unworthy" Cooper-Oakley with too much tolerance:

His [Olcott's] kindness and love of peace are great and truly Gautamic in their spirit; but he has misapplied that kindness; he allowed it to rest upon and benefit an unworthy object — a man whose soul is filled with the scum falling from other people’s wicked souls, with the pus exuding from other people’s wounds. The giving honours to a wicked man is like giving strong drink to him who has a fever. The bread he (C. Oakley) ate, the roof that sheltered him, the little ‘Society honours’ scattered on him by one whom he sought to destroy from the very day he entered Adyar, were all taken away by Henry from another man — whomsoever he may have been — who was worthy of all this, but for whom there was thus no room left near Olcott. This is his (Olcott’s) sin. No harm should be done even to the wretch whom gratitude fails to bind but he should not be permitted to lay claim to truth and honour, and given means to carry out his foul conspiracy, once that he stood confessed in Henry’s eyes — ‘the brute disguised in moss’. In our sight there is no crime worse than ingratitude and injustice; and to see one who suffers them without protest is equal to seeing in him a passive confederate to them. This policy has done more harm to the spirit of the Society and its growth than several Coulombs could do. For by allowing to remain at the Headquarters one who for four years never wrote a letter to a theosophist without enclosing in it a Parthian arrow against the Pres. Founder or his Co-Founder, Henry sanctioned his slanders. Behold, thought the Frenchmen, the Americans and the Germans who received such letters monthly — behold what one of the heads of the T.S. writes. No doubt H.S.O. remains only because he was elected for life and H.P.B. was rightly kicked out of Adyar. Where is she now? Her name is hardly mentioned, she is forgotten and gone and we are told that the ‘Masters’ are in direct correspondence and communication with C.O. [Cooper-Oakley] — their true delegate being now at Madras — [T. Subba Row|S.R]] etc. There is a strange Karma, added Master smiling. Henry feared to break with C.O. lest he should lose [T. Subba Row|S.R]] and N.C.; and now he lost N.C. [Neild Cook] and S.R., and is forced to have C.O., who is the leading evil genius of the two?[3][4]

Notes

  1. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 224.
  2. C. Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters to C. W. Leadbeater (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1941), 58.
  3. Letter Number 60 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series, 1988 edition. In previous editions it was designated as Letter 47.
  4. "N.C." was Dr. Jonathan Neild Cook, an English epidemiologist and bacteriologist who served as Health Office in Madras.