Re: Karma Yoga
Gita defines karma yoga as
yastvindriyANi manasA niyamyArabhate.arjuna .
karmendriyaiH karmayogamasaktaH sa vishiShyate ( 3.7)
Thus, karma yoga is control of senses by the mind. Whatever actions that helps us to obtain total control over the ten indriya-s (which will aid the "inward turning" of the mind) is karma yoga.
Karma yoga is indeed quite different from karma. The qualification of the word yoga there must make it obvious that karma yoga is in a very holy sphere. kAmya karma-s or actions tainted with desire cannot fall within the purview of karma yoga for obvious reasons. Work done at office does not make karma yoga because it is based on "give and take" relationship. You work because you get salary and other benefits. If you don't get paid you will leave the job. Such actions do not make karma yoga.
Karma yoga or Kriya yoga roughly equates to all kinds of religeous karma-s (japa, upAsana, prANAyAma, nine modes of worship etc) done solely with the aim of obtaining the divine grace. Proper practice of this yoga will lead to spiritual awakening due to the divine grace. With a lot of practice, we will become more mature and be able to extend the focus of karma yoga to not just religeous activities, but day to day tasks also, and do all work in a manner free from selfish motives. Such an aspirant is called aruruxa and he strives to become a yogArUdha.
ArurukShormuneryogaM karma kAraNamuchyate
yogArUDhasya tasyaiva shamaH kAraNamuchyate
The advanced yogi who has become a master of yoga is called the yogArUDha and others striving to become yogis are called Aruruxa-s.
Guard your Dharma, Burn the Myth, Promote the Truth, Crush the superstition.