Ketu puja is generally started on Tuesday and it is completed on Tuesday. The day of beginning of Ketu Pooja may sometimes be changed depending on the time which may be required by the Pandits to complete the chant of Ketu Veda mantra. Generally, the Pandits are able to complete such chant or Jaap of Ketu Veda Mantra in 7-8 days. Hence this Pooja is generally started on Tuesday and it is completed on the following Tuesday.
The most important step for performing any kind of Pooja to reduce the strength of any defect in a horoscope is to perform the chant of a mantra meant to reduce the strength of that defect and this chant amounts to 125,000 mantras in most cases. Ketu Pooja is generally conducted by chanting 125,000 Ketu Veda Mantras.
Ketu Pooja generally includes chant of 125,000 Ketu Veda mantras and rest of the procedure is built around this chant. To start with Ketu Pooja, a specific day is chosen for the beginning and completion of this Pooja and both these days may be Tuesdays in this case.
At the day of beginning of this Pooja, a Sankalp or resolution is taken by the Pandits who are generally 5 in number. Through this Sankalp, the head Pandit takes an oath before Lord Shiva that he and his assistant Pandits are going to perform a chant of 125,000 Ketu Veda mantras for a specific native and his name, his father’s name and his family surname are also mentioned in Sankalp.
The names of the Pandits doing this chant are also mentioned, the days taken to complete this chant are also mentioned, which are generally 7 to 8 days for this Pooja. The specific wishes sought by the native as result of this Pooja are also mentioned. This is the first step which starts Ketu Pooja.
The head Pandit takes Sankalp on behalf of the native. After this, the Pandits start chanting Ketu Veda mantra on daily basis for about 6 to 8 hours a day and in such a way that they are able to complete the total chant of 125,000 mantras till the decided day of completion for this Pooja. The Pandits keep chanting Ketu Veda mantra on daily basis till the day of completion and they complete the committed chant of mantras on that day. After completion of the chant of Ketu Veda mantra, the completion ceremony is arranged for the Pooja which can take about 2-3 hours if conducted with proper procedure. Poojas for lord Shiva, goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha and other members of Shiva family are performed first and many types of offerings like flowers, fruits, sweets, milk, curd, honey, desi ghee, sugar and other things are offered to these gods and goddesses.
The completion of the resolution or Sankalp taken by the Pandits is repeated. It is conveyed to the gods by Pandits that they have completed the chant of 125,000 Ketu Veda mantras, in the time promised by them and in the manner promised by them, at the day of beginning of this Pooja. It is also mentioned that such chant and Pooja has been performed on behalf of the native; whose details are again mentioned. It is then preyed that the native should be blessed with the good results of this Ketu Pooja, since the native has followed all the procedures for this Pooja and he has got this Pooja performed through Pandits.
Things related to navagraha or some specific planets among navagraha are also offered and donated during the course of this final Pooja ceremony for Ketu Pooja. They may include rice, wheat, sugar, salt, oil, blanket and some other things. After completion of this Pooja, blessings are taken from the gods and goddesses; and then the ceremony of Havna is started.
After starting Havna and completing the necessary formalities, the chant of Ketu Veda mantra is started again. This time, with the completion of each mantra, sound of Swaaha is chanted by the Pandits. Upon the chant of this sound, certain specific things which form the constituents of Pooja Samagri and which may vary from Pooja to Pooja are offered in a specific way; to the holy fire of Havna. This process is repeated again and again; and each time the Pandits chant the sound of Swaaha, Pooja Samagri is offered to the holy fire of Havna in a specific way. Once the specific chant of Ketu Veda mantras fixed for Havna is completed, some other important mantras are chanted; which may differ from region to region. Here again, Pooja Samagri is offered to the holy fire of Havna at the sound of Swaaha, at the completion of each mantra.
Finally, a dry coconut is filled with certain specific things which may again be different for different regions. This coconut is then placed in the holy fire of Havna as the final offering, with the chant of some specific mantras and the desired result is again prayed by the Pandits on behalf of the native. The native is then asked to complete 1, 3 or 7 circles around the Havna kund, where each one of these circular movements is called a Pradakshina or a Parikarma. Upon completion of Parikarma, Ketu Pooja is completed.
There are some precautions which should be observed by the native during the running length of Ketu Pooja; otherwise he may not get proper results from this Pooja. From the beginning of Ketu Pooja till the time of completion of this Pooja, the native for whom this Pooja is being performed should abstain from eating non vegetarian foods of all types; including fish and eggs. He should abstain from liquors and alcohols of all kinds and he should also not make sexual contacts with anyone.
The native should also not engage in conducts of violence, hatred and other such conducts; during the running length of Ketu Pooja. The native should try to connect to Ketu Pooja on daily basis. He can do so by praying to Lord Shiva and he should say through his words or through his mind that he is getting Ketu Pooja performed with the chant of 125,000 mantras and this Pooja is being performed at such and such place by a specific number of Pandits. He is following all the procedures and precautions with complete dedication and devotion; and that Lord Shiva should bless him with the best possible results for this Pooja.
It should be noted that Ketu Pooja can be performed in the presence of the native as well as in the absence of the native. In case the native is unable to be personally present at the place of Ketu Pooja, this Pooja is conducted with the help of native’s photograph in which the native should alone and no one else should be present in the picture. This picture should be as recent as possible. In this case, the main Pandit takes the Sankalp for Ketu Pooja on behalf of the native in the presence of his photograph.
The names of native’s father and the surname of his family are spoken during the Sankalp. It is also mentioned by the main Pandit that the native is unable to attend to this Pooja by means of his personal presence. Hence a specific Pandit whose name and surname is mentioned, will be performing all the rituals to be performed by the native; on behalf of the native. It should be noted that this Pandit is one of the Pandits who are performing a chant of 125,000 Ketu Veda mantras for the native.
This way, the rituals to be performed by the native at the beginning day and completion day of Ketu Pooja are performed by the chosen Pandit. It is conveyed by him on both these days that he is performing these rituals on behalf of the native whose photograph is always kept present during the Pooja and it is used as a symbol of the native. For example, if the chosen Pandit is supposed to offer flowers to Lord Shiva, he will first touch his hand carrying the flowers with the picture of the native and he will then offer the flowers to Lord Shiva.
All other rituals are also performed likewise. It is important to note that even if the native is personally not present for his Ketu Pooja, he is supposed to practice all the necessary and already mentioned precautions for this Pooja; in whichever part of the world he may be present during the running length of such Pooja. The native should also repeat his Sankalp for Ketu Pooja on daily basis as already mentioned; and he should ask for the best results from this Pooja.