Sunday, 25 December 2011

Ram Deen By Mumtaz Mufti - Review

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 09:49 0 comments

Ram Deen By Mumtaz Mufti - Review
Well! Mumtaz Mufti's Ram Deen (Urdu) is going to be my first Urdu book about which I'm going to  review on this blog. I've read more Urdu books than English but ironically this is going to be my first review of any book written in the language in which I talk, listen, feel, think and dream.

Ram Deen is a famous (and of course my favorite) work of Mumtaz Mufti which is divided into 21 sections/chapters. Still I couldn't reach to a conclusion whether its a complete fiction or the author has stated some exaggerated facts which is quite normal for the writers in order to come up with more inspiring and interesting output.

"Ram Deen" can be truly regarded as a book which played a great role in changing my views about Pakistan. In fact I'd always thought that the creation of Pakistan is not for without any purpose and one day for sure it will achieve its destiny even though it still seems to be a long way through.

The 21 different chapters can be regarded as essays, short stories e.t.c both fictional and non fictional. Ram Deen, being the very first chapter of the book, seems like a gibe to all those people especially the Muslims and / or those secular minded people of the sub continent who believe that they would have been in a position, much better off, had there been no separation in 1947.

If you have even a faintest idea of the names of the people used in the South East Asian part, or to be more precise, in the sub continent, then you would easily figure out the weirdness in the name Ram Deen. It's a mixture of both Hindu and Muslim names and these two names are not referring to two persons but a single character. A Muslim, who with a passage of time has amalgamated his name with a Hindu name as a result of the cultural and religious influence. Metaphorically speaking, the name of the person also depicts the culture, life style and therefore, the religious views of the Muslims especially living in the Hindu dominated regions during pre-partition era. I'm sure that this is still valid even today.

So the title of the book is based on the book's very first chapter and the same chapter, not entirely though, but more or less is a reflection of the complete theme of the entire book.

Although there are few chapters on relatively different topics but the book mainly revolves around the concept of the spiritual necessity of the Muslims of the sub continent in striving for Pakistan and that why the creation of Pakistan was necessary for the Muslims, politically, religiously, socially and economically.

I would love to go further in detail about this but this would sway us away from the book. So coming back to it, it's been written in fairly simple language which of course typical to Mumtaz Mufti as he doesn't like to make the lives of the readers hard. Secondly, the writer has metaphorically characterized the people and as I said that even after reading the entire book, I'm not quite sure that whether the incidents explained are fictional or actual but yet you'd find them interesting to read.

The last five chapters are a travelogue about a journey that the writer had with his bunch of friends in the Northern and other areas of Pakistan. The most interesting thing about these travelogue are the names of the characters that Mumtaz Mufti has used to refer to the people (his friends actually) in the whole journey. Some of them are, "Dastaan Go" which means "Story Teller" in English, "Leader", "Engineer", "Poet"  e.t.c. So these are the interesting names of the characters in the last five chapters of "Ram Deen".

There's even a homage paid through this book to a folk singer, Tufail Niazi and besides this, there are two chapters that I believe to be worth reading. These are, "Pakistan" and "Jae Panah Se Jae Imtiaz Tak".  These two has got some really inspirational incidents which are surely going to electrify you.

You can easily read the entire book in just one go as the volume is not so great and secondly, Raam Deen is so interesting that you will hardly want to do anything else when reading it. The single book is a cocktail of different colors. Its philosophical, slightly humorous and didactic as well at the same time.

So if you are looking forward to have a good read this weekend, Ram Deen can be an awesome choice. It's  also available online but I wouldn't recommend it until you have a good, portable, hand size e-book reader as I've my own reservations with reading through the monitor screen.


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol Review

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 03:48 0 comments

The Lost Symbol Review - Dan Brown

At last, I'm done reading Dan Brown's new Novel, The Lost Symbol. It's been quite a while since I last published a review however since I've read the book entirely, I feel safe to express my opinion on it.

When I picked this book, I was expecting the same material as I had read in other Dan Brown books as the title and the image (of US Capitol building and the symbolic Free Masonry Key) on the main page tells you a lot about what's the content's going to be within and believe me as far as something new is concerned relative to other Dan Brown's novels,  The lost symbol is not going to startle you. It's the same Robert Langdon, the same mystery solving journey, deciphering the codes, understanding the signs obscured in the masterpiece paintings of the legends, a pretty, decent and genius woman for whom Dan Brown renders his duties as an intelligent bodyguard,  an ingenious villain who keeps dominating till the end until everything goes wrong for him at the very last moment   e.t.c.

Equipped with untold mysteries revolving around Washington D.C, Dan Brown has very cleverly plotted and revealed these intriguing mysteries in the entire book. Whenever I read Dan Brown's books, one thing I admire most is the way he places and then maneuvers his characters so expertly that a reader does not feel that any character has been dragged to a certain position or have been forcefully pushed into a particular situation. It all appears so natural.

The Lost Symbol  is the story of a person, Malakh who tries to reach to the famous hidden Free Masonic's Lost Symbol allegedly considered to be buried somewhere in the Washington D.C by the founding forefathers of the modern United States Of America (Who were Free Masons Themselves) and supposedly withholds enormous powers that any human being has hardly borne. The job of  Robert Langdon eventually turns out to stop Malakh when he finds himself ensnared in a situation carefully plotted by Malakh himself . The word "Symbol" here is purely a symbolic and allegoric according to Dan Brown and he claims that the presence of a buried symbol somewhere in US Capital is no fiction at all.

In the whole novel, Malakh manages to get his hands on a leverage by abducting an influential person in the society named as Peter Solomon, a close and dearest friend of Robert Langdon who holds the highest position in the Free Masonic brotherhood as well.

Another main character in this novel is of Katherine Solomon, sister of Peter Solomon who is a genius scientist and recently has made some ground breaking discoveries in the freshly discovered field of Noetic Sciences.

For many folks, the term Noetic Sciences sounds to be new and it actually is. I'm not going to start a lecture about this field in order to explain it at least in this it is going to take something a lot larger than a snippet from a post to explain it but believe me, Noetic Sciences has gained some popularity after the release of The Lost Symbol. In short, Noetic Science is attempting to create a bridge between religion and science which until recently were considered as non compatible simultaneously.. 

Dan Brown, in this book has tried to advocate and support the existence of the Secret Society of Free Masons Brotherhood and considers that this notorious dark group with weird practices has been immensely misunderstood by the masses. Dan Brown, through Robert Langdon has tried to reply back to all the misconceptions (according to him) revolving around Free Masons Society.

Apart from appreciation, this book has received some criticisms as well which I consider is essential. Many believe that you have to digest the unnecessary situations which have been forcefully created so as to drag the scenario to any conclusion which I consider is not correct. However, I although believe that unnaturally, all the characters in this novel (and other novels of Dan Brown as well) are bunch of "BAD ASSES" in their respective fields. They're all geniuses, know everything and hardly ever say "I Don't Know" which again I consider is quite unnatural.

Published and released on September 15, 2009 the book managed to sell over 6.5 million copies alone in the American continents in its first printing. Definitely sounds like a blockbuster hit. The version that I read comprises of 505 easy to go through normal sized pages.

I'd recommend you to read this novel. The best thing about Dan Brown's books are that they'd compel you to do some research from your part and for sure you'd keep guessing while reading the novel that which part is fact and which one is fiction and I also from time to time keep googling about the phrases, events, characters and the stories about the paintings and other artifacts discussed in this book and believed to contain some hidden codes, secrets and messages.

In short, "Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is going to intrigue you".

Saturday, 5 November 2011

What I've Been Reading This Week

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 04:36 0 comments

To update you guys on my current "Reading Projects", I've been waiting for a long time to get my hands on to the Dan Brown's, The Lost Symbol and once I had it, I started reading it. So it's been more than a week since I started reading it. Currently I'm not even half way through as I'm reading it at a speed of couple of chapters a day. So its definitely going to take some time when the review is ready and published over here.

However, just as a synopsis, The Lost Symbol is no way different from Dan Brown's previous novels but even then I'm finding it interesting.

Secondly, I have temporarily given up on Stephen Hawkings, The Brief History Of Time (E book). It's definitely a great piece of work but I felt that I started losing it. Of course, its purely science and it might appear that the book's for nerds or only for science geeks but this is not the case as the topics in the books have been elaborated very nicely by the writer. The reason why I stopped reading it is because I feel that complete dedication is required reading it and this was what I wasn't able to render. So I'm going to return back to it once I'm done with other books.

That's it for now Keep visiting for the reviews and never hesitate in correcting my assertions whatsoever.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Alchemist - By Paulo Cohelo - Review

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 19:01 0 comments

The story of a boy shepherd, who follows his destiny and in pursuit of which he is deprived of his wealth, possession and even has to give up his home land.

The Alchemist is a short allegory fable about a shepherd who starts to have visions and he deems those visions as his destiny. In order to realize his dreams, he sets off for a journey to Egypt as a gypsy and an old man who claims himself to be the King but his appearance expressed a very different story,  reveal that the treasure is buried somewhere near the Egyptian Pyramids. So he sets off and sells his most precious belongings, the 60 sheep in order to have some money for his journey.

The old man also teaches him about the Omens and how to believe in them and how to get inspired from them so that one may seek guidance through. The lessons helps him greatly during the entire voyage as the Omens guide him nearer to his destiny where he meets an Alchemist, the Old Man of The Desert. The person who has great spiritual knowledge and the art turning metals into gold.

Meeting with the Alchemist proves to be fortunate as the boy finally reaches to his destiny but with a spiritually enlightened heart and mind, the knowledge of the unknown and the vision of the unseen.

The entire novel comprises of just 175 pages so a person with a decent reading speed can go through it in one go. Paulo Cohelo has, like other of his novels tried to teach a lesson that one should never stop seeking his destiny no matter with how much ease and convenience you live and the people who don't strive for their destinies, their lives are miserable,  wasted and empty.

Of course, its an allegory tale therefore the message has been conveyed through different metaphors, and Paulo Cohelo is no doubt good in it as he has done the same in his other novels as well. Like The Pilgrimage e.t.c    

As far as my recommendation is concerned, its definitely a good novel but slightly overrated when it comes to selling record breaking, millions of copies worldwide. This should not be considered, in anyway as a bashing as I consider it to be a good and interesting novel but still, manage to sell more than thirty million copies of it seems to be too lucky for the writer.

It may sound like that I don't have proclivities towards medieval mysticism so the stuff appeared to me too heavy to understand or appreciate but this is not the case as I truly admire mysticism and mystique and really have a  soft corner for both. The only reason that I believe so is that no great deal of details are provided as everything seems to pass by in a rush. Detailing in a poetic way  is imminent when it comes to spirituality and someone intents to convey his message through metaphors e.t.c.

Nevertheless, when you ask me that whether one should read it or not, my reply would be YES. Its a good novel with great message and will certainly arouse a positive feeling and energy within you.      

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Colin Wilson's: The Criminal History Of Mankind - Review

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 12:30 0 comments

Colin Wilson - The Criminal History Of Mankind - Review
Ever since the man has descended on this earth, the crime has been a major source of channelizing his energy. In fact, the very descendence of man, from heaven to earth was a result of a crime, the Original Sin, that's what the Christians named the famous incident of Adam and Eve of doing something forbidden.

The Criminal History Of Mankind by Colin wilson takes into account the psychological reasons because of crime and violence and why man is inclined towards a criminal activity. The writer contemplates on the motivations which result in crime and why only the human beings have proved themselves to be a creature who kill their own species without any motive. Of course killing or murdering is not the only crime but Colin wilson has, in majority portion of his book, kept the focus on murder, mass murder, rape and rape murder.

The book as the name suggests, is a philosophical overview of the history of crime. Amazingly, despite being philosophical, one does not feel boredom while reading the majority parts of it.

I read the pdf version of it on the computer and man!!! what horrible experience that was to read such an exotic book on PC as you find it very difficult to read for too long but nevertheless, I completed the whole book and it took me two to three months in completing it. That sure sounds a great deal of time but this doesn't mean that the book is a large one. In fact, its a book with 405 pages. The reason for such delay was of course the "Reading On Computer" issue and secondly, I started to read this book in my office. Actually not in break timings but in normal office hours and I would read only one to two pages a day. Let us just hope that my boss isn't fond of reading blogs. So the reason for such slow reading seems to be justified I guess!

Colin wilson, in his book, reviews all the prominent personalities in the history who dominated, ruled or influenced the world or during their time (of course, the world all in this sentence is literally confined to my own knowledge of history). In addition to this the author goes way back to the pre historic times and discusses the times from The Pecking Man to Neanthedral Man, from Greeks to Romans and from the Middle ages to the modern man to the modern civilized man. So one great benefit you would gain after reading this book would be that your history knowledge is going to be revised.

Although, many say that the discussion of the pre historic element of The Criminal History Of Mankind is rather week but I feel that it's not a history book so such short comings can be easily ignored. Instead, it can be used as a book through which you can easily and quickly  go through the human history.

Colin wilson keeps the interest intact throughout the whole book by referring to the formidable crimes and discusses the psychological reasons behind such acts.

My favorite part of The Criminal History Of Mankind is the chapter in which the author discusses the role of hypnosis in deciding the man's actions. Like all other Layman, I used to get intrigued and fascinated whenever I used to read or listen about incident related to hypnosis and always thought it as something magical. But the book succeeded in changing my views about it and I realized that the whole phenomenon is psychological rather than magical (what normally majority of the hypnotists purports it to be).

I think that a small clarification is really necessary related to some religious (Islamic) issue. On page 318 Colin wilson writes that "pigs were sacred to Mahommedans" (surely he means Muslims), what actually he is referring to is the incident in which the Muslim and Hindu Sepoys (troops) in British invaded India were forced to bite the end of the cartridges (manufactured from cow and pig fat) in order to load their guns. Both communities expressed their resentment leading eventually to a bloodshed as cows are sacred to Hindus and pigs are "Haram" (forbidden) in Islam because of their filthy nature. So the word, "Sacred" is totally the opposite of the word Haram and pigs are not sacred to Muslims in anyway.

The downside of this book is that after reading A Criminal History Of Mankind, the book filled with immense violence and human brutality, some part in me has started to think that in the West, the crime is in abundance and the serial killers are present at every block waiting for their next victim to fall for their bait. I know this is absolutely not the case, but that's the impression the book involuntarily creates.

However, if you still haven't read this book and luckily somehow you get your hands on it, I would reckon not to miss such book. It's a good read and you are definitely going to enjoy it throughout your whole reading sessions.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

What I've Been Reading This Week

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 05:11 0 comments

It's been really long time since I last posted here in this blog. The last I posted was on June 25th, 2011. Wow! that's a great deal of time.

The reason for this delay was of course, my busy schedule accompanied by my laziness. Secondly, I thought that I should only post once I'm done reading a book as reviewing a book without reading it doesn't seem to be doing complete justice with the book.

However then I realized that it's a blog and you don't need to be formal by following some set of rules and especially when then blog is your own.

So I decided to post. But this is not going to be a book review. It's just to update you people that what I've been reading this whole week so that you can expect from me that what's the new review is going to be about.

I've been reading  Collin Wilson's, "The Criminal History Of Mankind". Sound's too philosophical, huh...???
Believe me, even being a philosophical work, it's not boring at all. The book's about studying and contemplating on the reason that why human being, unlike other species, have general proclivities towards crime and why do they kill and commit crime even when there's no reason for doing so.

Of course, I'm not going to discuss the whole book completely here in this post. The only reason I posted is to let you know that  what you should be expecting in next few days.

One of  the reason for this delayed activity on this blog is also that I am reading this book through my computer and man!!! what horrible experience it is to read book electronically (I haven't yet experienced e-book readers like Kindle and stuffs like that so electronically reading here only means reading the book on your computer screen). You hardly read 10-15 pages and end up with back ache, swelled eyes and pain in your shoulders. But nevertheless I endure all these predicaments just to get my hands on these exotic books. It's really hard to have these books in your personal library as libraries or good book shops are something that are not in abundance over here (Karachi, Pakistan). So piracy is just a way to meet our ends conveniently.

Anyways, I think that's enough for a humble clarification. the book's almost complete and the review will be here in few days (I hope 10-15 days is going to be a safe estimate). Until then, you all people out there, Take Care!!!   


Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Great Expectations - By Charles Dickens - Review

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 12:58 0 comments

The Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
The Great Expectations - A novel written by one of the most renowned British writer of the nineteenth century,Charles Dickens in 1860 is regarded as the best of his work and a masterpiece. The novel bears the story of a kid named, pip (who is a narrator as well) with an underprivileged background who lives with his sister and her husband, Joe who is a blacksmith.

The story explained from the first person view, is about the journey of  the same kid, that how he became a gentleman  when he is helped by an unknown benefactor. The novel takes an interesting turn when Pip comes to know that his benefactor is not the one who he thought but it's actually a person who he helped when that person was in a miserable condition and the Government officials were after him since he was a fugitive.

Like other Charles Dickens's novels, this book also depicts an ugly childhood time of the main character, Pip. It is said that Charles Dickens actually portrayed his own childhood in his novels as he had a horrible time as a kid and the memories of his childhood clung to his subconscious mind. That's why we see that his main characters spend their childhood in predicament. The same can be seen in his other novel, David Copperfield as well. However there are always some good characters too who foster the leading character with love like Joe Gargery in this book.

Coming to the features of the novel, it is considered the best but kind of dark work of Charles Dickens and praised for its best characterization and story plotting. After reading the novel one could easily imagine that how thorough is the observation and how detailed is characterization of the characters by Dickens and he describes his characters in great detail.

Making long story short, I guess that you should be reading this book if you are looking for a great story and want to have fun of the language. I know that It's a bit old book to review but there are still many who may not have read this. So if you are one of them then get your hands on to it and enjoy your time while reading it. 


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Confessions Of An Economic Hitman - By John Perkins - Review

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 02:27 0 comments

The Confessions Of An Economic Hitman - John Perkins

Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe
out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID), and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of
huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural
resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion,
sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and
terrify-ing dimensions during this time of globalization. - John Perkins (Confessions Of An Economic Hitman)

Confessions of an economic hit man is John Perkins biography or memoirs which takes notes of  his life as an Economist in a consulting firm or what he prefer to say, as an Economic Hitman, in which he tries to throw some light on the facade of the slogan of "Development & Prosperity" which is put forward by many capitalist establishments and how the few hands manage to mint all the money through all those economic developments.

All the discussions in the book become even more credible since the writer himself claims to be one of those notorious Economic Hit Man and served the consulting firm, Chase T. Main in Boston. John Perkins "Confessions" describes that how the entrepreneurs have managed to seep into the political establishments of the country and all the foreign policies are extensions of their own interests.

The book came out in 2004 as the writer says that he was always encouraged not to complete this book through bribery and threats. Somehow he managed to complete it but then he faced difficulties in publishing it since no publishing house was willing to own such a controversial material.  

According to John, he was interviewed by the National Security Agency (NSA) before being hired by Chase T. Main and he always felt that his induction at the firm was actually a covertly recruitment by NSA as the agency seemed to be impressed by his unstable and deteriorating childhood and felt that he was the right person for the job he was hired.

Being an economist and gifted with the art of convincing others, the core job of  John Perkins was to  persuade the high level authorities and Government officials of other countries to allow themselves to be indebted under the huge and almost "unpayable" loans of international and/or American financial institutions or to allow the private sector to explore the wealth of their lands paying no regards to the local communities and habitat and for this purpose he never refrained in using highly exaggerated economic development models just to meet the ends. He also explains that how the same money which is granted to these countries, is funneled  back in the accounts of few American companies and in the end, they remain most beneficial.

The author explains in the book the three levels the establishment uses to make things work out in their way. The first level is of course the assignment of EHMs (Economic Hit Men) whose jobs are to convince the third world countries become indebted at the cost of their own natural resources. Secondly, the CIA backed "Jackals" are given the responsibility and even if these Jackals fail, the last option left is the invasion of that very country and for this purpose the blood of young American countrymen and women paves the way.

The author supports his allegations/theory/experiences/findings or whatever may sound appropriate, with the incidents of the dethroning of  democratically elected, the then popular Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, that how his own people were set up against him as he nationalized all the oil fields which ended up in depriving of his chair as a Prime Minister. Secondly, the death of Panamanian Leader, Omer Torrijos through a plane crash which he claims to be more than a mere accident as a result of contention of his with the American Government over the Panama Canal. The author seems to be impressed with the personality of Omar Torrijos as he had may opportunities to meet and talk to him on various issues. That's why he has paid a homage to Omar in the preface of the book along with Jaime Roldos, the President of Ecuador, who shared the same fate as Omar when it came to death.

The book is written in a descriptive manner as John doesn't seem to run through the facts quickly and along with that the writer also doesn't try to drag too much which really enhances the reading experience and the reader can easily guess that the author is sure an experienced writer. The best part is that despite being a financial and economical topic, the book doesn't seem to be boring at all.

There are also some downsides as well. After reading the whole book one would feel that a rather hopeless situation of the world is portrayed and every step taken in the direction of development and prosperity would be felt like being intrigued and a conspiracy plotted to benefit few. The writer also shares some list of actions one could take to avoid all these fallacies but they seem to be too lame and limited only to micro level. Like John writes:
I could give you a list of practical things to do. For instance, cut back on your oil consumption. In1990, before we first invaded Iraq, we imported 8 million barrels of oil; by 2003 and the second invasion, this had increased more than 50 percent, to over 12 million barrels.1 The next time you are tempted to go shopping, read a book instead, exercise, or meditate. Downsize your home, wardrobe, car, office, and most everything else in your life. Protest against "free" 

Moreover, the writer thinks that a radical change can be brought in without dismantling the system which I believe, sounds too naive. In other words he is advocating the same system which he blamed to be responsible of many miseries especially to the developing countries.

Apart from criticisms, I believe the book is no doubt a good read, fascinating and eye opening. I downloaded the e-book version of this book (not sure whether I violated the piracy act...!!!) but even if you buy this from the market, believe me you would not feel that your money is wasted. 


Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Pilgrimage - By Paulo Cohelo - Review

Posted by Muhammed Khan on 00:21 0 comments

The Pilgrimage - Paulo Cohelo

To be very honest, I didn't go out there in the market to buy this book. But in fact I was looking for Paulo Cohelo's another best selling Masterpiece, "Alchemist", but couldn't find a copy for myself and instead I ended up with this book in my hands.

The reason I bought this is because before reading an art piece like, "Alchemist", I wanted to understand the style of the author. Did I tell you that "The Pilgrimage" is the first book of Paulo Cohelo that I ever read. So I wanted to understand the way the writer expresses so that I am able to grasp and therefore enjoy maximum when I read Alchemist. Therefore I bought this book and got impressed by this one as well. So below is the review of the Paulo Cohelo's first book that I read.  

The Pilgrimage - a novel written by Paulo Cohelo, explains the journey of self recognition by the writer himself under the supervision of his mentor or guide named, Petrus.

The best selling small sized novel (by small I mean a novel of 226 small sized pages), published originally in Portuguese language in 1987 and then the first English version came out in 1992, depicts the experience of Paulo Cohelo (the writer himself), which he gains after setting for a pilgrimage to a legendary road of  San Tiago De Compostela in order to get his "sword".

The novel starts with a scene of a ritual, where the main character and the narrator, Paulo is denied of the sword to be handed over which is the symbol of "Knightship" and in order to achieve it he has to travel to San Tiago where many lessons of the life are waiting to be revealed.

The very journey and the RAM exercises during the entire pilgrimage open the doors of wisdom, spirituality, self control, agape and of course, fighting the "Good Fight" and Paulo starts to appreciate the simplicity of life.

At the beginning of the journey, Paulo always saw the spiritual world as some sort of magical world where only super natural beings reside but gradually as he completes the different stages of the pilgrimage and comes to know and practices different RAM exercises, he finds out that he was blinded by his own fascination of the world around him and despite the presence of all his senses, he never bothered to ponder about the world.

 In the novel, the writer has explained many RAM exercises which seems to be the same practices that normally monks and mystics do i.e meditation and everything else like that. I would like to share at least one of them below so that you would understand what the RAM exercises actually are:

The RAM Breathing Exercise

Expel all of the air from your lungs, emptying them
as much as you can. Then, inhale slowly as you
raise your arms as high as possible. As you inhale,
concentrate on allowing love, peace, and harmony
with the universe to enter into your body.
Hold the air you have taken in and keep your
arms raised for as long as you can, enjoying the
harmony between your inner sensations and the
outer world. When you reach your limit, exhale all
of the air rapidly, as you say the word, ‘RAM.’
Repeat this process for five minutes each time
you do the exercise.

I recently read this novel and was impressed by the simplicity with which the entire novel has been crafted. Because normally when it comes to "Mysticism", it is elaborated with difficult terms and complicated jargon which are hard to understand. But in  the case of "The Pilgrimage", the language has been kept very simple and if you are the person whose mother tongue is different than English (like me), even then you won't find it difficult to understand.

So, in order to find out that did Paulo really achieved his sword or his whole pilgrimage went in vain, I would reckon to read this novel. It's not a gigantic book as I've written above so you will easily go through it in couple of days.

My Favorite Phrase From The Book
It is not a sin to be happy. Half a dozen exercises
and an attentive ear are enough to allow us to realize
our most impossible dreams

Other Popular Phrases From The Book
We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide
nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the
body. Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered
and our desires frustrated, but we have to continue
dreaming. If we don’t, our soul dies

The first symptom of the process of our killing our
dreams is the lack of time,’ Petrus continued. ‘The
busiest people I have known in my life always have time
enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are
always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of
work they are required to do. They complain constantly
that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to
fight the good fight.

And Many More...