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The Mystic Road


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Father Yod aka YaHoWha (July 4, 1922 - August 25, 1975) was the American owner of one of the first health food restaurants in the Country, The Source Restaurant, on Sunset Strip, who founded a Spiritual community in the Hollywood Hills known as the Source Family. He was also lead singer of the commune's experimental psychedelic rock band, Ya Ho Wha 13. James Edward Baker was born on July 4, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Baker earned the Silver Star as United States Marine in World War II and became an expert in Jujitsu. He moved to California to become a Hollywood stuntman and became influenced by the Nature Boys, a Los Angeles-based group of beatniks who lived a natural, vegetarian lifestyle, and lived "according to Nature's Laws." Baker also studied philosophy, religion, and esoteric spiritual teachings, even becoming a Vedantic monk for a time. He later became a follower of Yogi Bhajan, a Sikh spiritual leader and teacher of Kundalini Yoga. In 1969, Baker founded the Source Restaurant in the Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles, on the Sunset Strip. The restaurant served organic vegetarian food, with such celebrity regulars as John Lennon, Julie Christie, and Marlon Brando. Baker left Yogi Bhajan in the late 1960s and created his own philosophy, based on Western mystery tradition. Changing his name to Father Yod and, later, Ya Ho Wha, he became the patriarch to a commune of young people who considered him their Spiritual Father. The group, known as the Source Family, lived together in a Hollywood Hills mansion and was supported by the earnings of the Source Restaurant, which was very profitable during its peak. Its members kept some of the doctrines of the Source Family secret; however, they generally adopted a way of life that promoted natural health, organic vegetarian diets, communal living, and utopian ideals. Music was an integral part of the Source Family and many members were musicians. Father Yod formed them into an improvisational psychedelic rock band called YaHoWha 13, with himself as a lead singer. In 1973 the band began making limited pressings of their jam sessions, eventually releasing nine albums that were sold at the Source Restaurant for ten dollars each. The original recordings have become valuable to collectors of underground music. Celebrities such as Earth, Wind & Fire would buy Source records out of the back of the restaurant.

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