“Karma” is a word we often hear being bandied around these days. In our culture it is often used to mean “what goes around, comes around”, and if something goes wrong, it’s down to “bad karma”. The word “karma” is actually an ancient sanskrit word that closely means “action”. Like most East-West translations, the meaning of the word has been lost along the way.
Karma is the subject of many chapters in the ancient vedic text, the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna, the protagonist in the story, is being guided in a battle by his friend, Krishna. The gist is that while we are embodied in flesh and appear to be separate beings (Jivas) in the physical world (Samsara), we have no choice but to act. We are told that in this world we have no say in the outcome of any action we carry out. We may get what we want, and it may go pear shaped. We are advised to act consciously, devote the action to Ishvara (Consciousness in the form of creator or God), and release any attachment to the outcome, accepting the outcome, good or bad, as Prasad, a gift. Life is pretty miraculous, and to be alive is against the odds...so to devote all action to whoever or whatever you see as being responsible for that miracle is the objective of Karma Yoga. To act in a conscious and beneficial manner without attachment relieves one of any karmic ties to that action. Talks on the Gita and Karma Yoga can be found here http://www.shiningworld.com/now/media.html . James Swartz’s You tube lectures on Karma Yoga can be found here...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpCPTXlfyKs