Tune Groover Video of the Day: Happy Diwali/Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute
by Greg “Gargs” Allard
Today is not only Veteran’s Day but it is also the celebration of Diwali – or Deepavali or The Festival of Lights, which originally celebrated the return of Lord Rama and His consort Sita to the Kingdom of Ayodhya after 14 years of exile in the forest. This pastime can be found in the ancient text The Ramayana by the great sage Valmiki.
Diwali signifies more generally the conquering of good over evil and has developed different focal points in India over the centuries depending on if you are a Jain, Sikh, Buddhist or Hindu. All of these traditions (except some forms of Buddhism that believe in voidism) believe that there is a spirit or soul or atma beyond the gross physical body and subtle bodies of the mind and intelligence.
Personalists say that there is also a Paramatma, or Supreme Soul (also known as Supersoul), beyond illusion, that has an eternal relationship with individual infinitesimal souls, and that the Supersoul and infinitesimal souls are simultaneously and eternally one and different and enjoy an eternal relationship together. So, Diwali, is ultimately a celebration of returning to that relationship or coming into the light of it.
Diwali takes place on amavasya, or the new moon or dark moon night, therefore it was also very practical and necessary to use lots of candles and other forms of lights for this celebration.
Whatever a person’s religious affiliation, all traditions in and around and influenced by India, whether they know the logistics of the origins or not, celebrate Diwali in this way, as described in Wikipedia:
Diwali is one of the happiest holidays in Nepal and India with significant preparations. People clean their homes and decorate them for the festivities. Diwali is one of the biggest shopping seasons in Nepal and India; people buy new clothes for themselves and their families, as well as gifts, appliances, kitchen utensils, even expensive items such as cars and gold jewelry. People also buy gifts for family members and friends which typically include sweets, dry fruits, and seasonal specialties depending on regional harvest and customs. It is also the period when children hear ancient stories, legends, myths about battles between good and evil or light and darkness from their parents and elders. Girls and women go shopping and create rangoli and other creative patterns on floors, near doors and walkways. Youth and adults alike help with lighting and preparing for patakhe (fireworks).
There is significant variation in regional practices and rituals. Depending on the region, prayers are offered before one or more deities, with most common being Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. On Diwali night, fireworks light up the neighborhood skies. Later, family members and invited friends celebrate the night over food and sweets.
This video is certainly on the lighter side of a serious yet very festive spiritual tradition. It was shown at the end of an episode of The Office (season 3, episode 6), where Michael Scott encourages his Scranton branch to attend a local celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, in support of Kelly Kapoor. The actress who plays Kelly, Mindy baling, is of East Indian descent and wrote the episode.
Before the song is performed, Michael says it is in honor of Adam Sandler, who is well-known to have written and performed The Chanukah Song and the part two and part three Chanukah songs that followed.