The word ‘karma’ is a Sanskrit word derived from the root kri, which means ‘to do’. ‘Karma’ means any action that one does. Eating, walking, sleeping, studying, working-all these and any other action can be termed ‘karma’. The rituals prescribed by the Vedas or dharmashastras are also called ‘karma’. The portion of the Vedas that discuss the rituals is called karma-kanda.
Karma also means the effects of actions. The effects of an action can also be called karmaphala but generally the word karma is used. Karma used in the sense of the effect of an action means one has to reap the fruits of whatever actions one does, across various life times. The idea of doing called kartrivta or doership and experiencing called bhoktrivta or enjoyership leads to result of one`s own actions.
Karma may be different types according to its purpose. Nithya karma is action that has to be performed every day. Naimithyaka karma is that to be performed which is specific for person concerned. Niskama karmas are those actions that are performed without purpose of gaining any personal benefit or sense of kartrivta for the general good of others.
Based on the time of fruition of the karma, it can be Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami Karma . Sanchita karma is the package of karma due to our past actions, which have to be exhausted in our future lives. Prarabdha Karma is that portion of the past karma that has given rise to the present body and which has to be exhausted by experiencing during the present life. Agami Karma is the karma yet to be earned in the present life or in the future lives.
Karma Yoga is doing work selflessly without expecting fruits of actions performed.
Dr Mahesh Chandra Panda