Karma-Yoga is a compound word consisting of two simple words Karma and Yoga. By Karma, we mean “proper action”. What is proper action ? Based on the scriptures, all actions are broadly divided into 3 categories: Satvika karmas ( satva means equilibrium) which are compulsory for every seeker of Moksha ( freedom from dependence). They are not based on our likes and dislikes or on our Kama (desire) and hence are called Nishkama karma. They contribute to the inner and spiritual growth of a person. Their focus is inner growth. So the benefits are subtle internal benefits. Pancha-maha-yajnas come under this. One has to do them whether one likes it or not. Please refer to http://www.indusladies.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2877 Rajasa Karmas (rajas means activity) form the second kind of action. These are actions based on our desires. Hence they are called sakama-karmas (desire-prompted actions). A person can fulfill desires in a legitimate manner. They primarily contribute to our material well-being. It contributes only secondarily to inner growth. We must remember that knowledge and not pleasure is the primary goal of man. Tamasa Karmas (tamas means inertia) form the last type and are called Nishiddha Karmas (prohibited action). They are wrong actions like violence, cheating etc. They have a retarding effect on one and they should be avoided. We come across certain situations when Nishiddha karmas have to be done by us like using insecticides, harming vegetable kingdom etc. We should reduce these to the minimum. These choiceless Papas ( wrong actions) have to be neutralized by pancha-maha-yajnas. Yoga: This means “ proper attitude”. It is the mental state of equanimity, balance, an unperturbed condition which helps in making life effective. For this, the following traits have to be developed: Acceptance – Learn to accept all pleasant and choiceless actions. Also accept results of actions in the same way. Non-comparison – Avoid comparison while doing actions or while receiving results because comparison creates problems. Humility - Always remember that you are an instrument of the Lord. Devotion – Dedicate all actions to the Lord as worship, chanting “Oh! Lord, whatever be the consequences, I will accept them as your Prasada, your gift. It may be spiritual growth or material growth or adverse effect. I will accept everything as your gift. I do not resist anything that comes in my life. That is the result of my own good or bad action and I know that You are never unjust. Whatever comes from you will refine and elevate me”. Thus, Karma-Yoga is doing the right karma with the right state of mind which gives me inner growth. I am rich and calm and grow internally . The benefit of inner growth is called refinement and is an important discipline. Karma-yoga is the first stage in Sadhana (a man’s pursuit for moksha or inner liberation). In short, the RIDE formula for Karma yoga is Reduce non-righteous actions Increase righteous actions Dedicate all your actions to the Lord Experience everything as the “prasada” from God The four-fold benefit is; Serenity of mind Self-satisfaction Contribution in macro level to universal harmony Getting spiritual growth gradually Once we understand the full meaning of karma yoga, all our powers will be concentrated and the knowledge which is ours will be manifest. We will be able to do really unselfish work. A karma-yogi is he who in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude finds the most intense activity and in the midst of the most intense activity finds the silence and solitude of the desert. He has learnt the secret of restraint, he has controlled himself. Love, Chithra.