Karma means willed action. Akarma is inaction. Vikarma is action that is prohibited. Karma may be nithya karma which is action that has to be performed every day, naimithyaka karma is that to be performed which is specific for person concerned, kamya karmas those are optional with a specific fruit in view and nishkama karmas are those actions that are performed without any personal benefit or authorship, as a sacrifice for the general good of others.
When a karma yogi does his duty with selfless attitude, his duty is determined by the rational insight in perfect harmony with the soul. A karma yogi rises from the level of rational insight to spiritual insight. He makes a paradigm shift from selfishness to selflessness. He becomes endowed with a unique perception of inaction which means, “He who sees no work in work, and work in no work, he is wise among men” (Bhagavad Gita 4.18).
Akarma or inaction invariably involves selfless work for universal welfare. Akarma is not non-action but action soaked in jnana, in the knowledge of the Self it is no longer a work. A person who has attained that state works without any desire and he has his senses and mind under perfect control. He understands that though he does his duties, it is not the real Self that acts rather the Self is in state of akarma or inaction. One who knows the truth that one is not an agent of the works that he is doing is freed and he only knows how to work.
One does not get inner peace and joy by escaping from action or doing it badly but by doing it well, rising from kamya karma to that of akarma darshana [ literally, ‘seeing inaction’ ] through nishkama karma. Doing work in state of akarma or inaction of Self, a person is freed from boredom, stress and strain of work and he becomes established in his divine nature involved in selfless work for universal welfare.
Dr Mahesh Chandra Panda