Mantra Rock Dance - 1967

Harvey Cohen


Mantra Rock Dance - 1967


First printing, lithograph, condition: Excellent


Framed: 25 1/4" tall x 17 1/4" wide







close-up of frame

frame at angle


The Mantra-Rock Dance was a counterculture music event held on January 29, 1967, at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. It was organized by followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) as an opportunity for its founder, Swami Prabhupada, to address a wider public. It was also a promotional and fundraising effort for their first center on the West Coast of the United States.



The Mantra-Rock Dance came just two weeks after the “Gathering of The Tribes,”, the Human Be-in in Golden Gate Park. The bands agreed to perform for free with proceeds donated to the local Hare Krishna temple. The participation of countercultural leaders boosted the event's popularity; among them were the poet Allen Ginsberg, who led the singing of the Hare Krishna mantra onstage along with Prabhupada, and LSD promoters Timothy Leary and Owsley Stanley



Artist Harvey Cohen, one of the first ISKCON followers, designed this Stanley Mouse-inspired promotional poster with a picture of Prabhupada, details of the event, and a request to "bring cushions, drums, bells, cymbals." The Mantra-Rock Dance concert was later called "the ultimate high" and "the major spiritual event of the San Francisco hippie era." It led to favorable media exposures for Prabhupada and his followers, and brought the Hare Krishna movement to the wider attention of the American public



Timothy Leary pronounced the event a "beautiful night". Later Ginsberg called the Mantra-Rock Dance "the height of Haight-Ashbury spiritual enthusiasm, the first time that there had been a music scene in San Francisco where everybody could be part of it and participate," The Hare Krishna mantra and dancing became adopted in some ways by all levels of the counterculture. As the movement's popularity with the Haight-Ashbury community continued to increase, Prabhupada and followers chanting and distributing prasad (sanctified food) became a customary sight at important events in San Francisco.

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