The first question:
Patanjali has stressed the importance of non-attachment, that is, cessation of desire, for being rooted in oneself. But is non-attachment really at the beginning of the journey or at the very end?
The beginning and the end are not two things. The beginning is the end, so don’t divide them and don’t think in terms of duality. If you want to be silent in the end, you will have to begin with silence from the very beginning. In the beginning the silence will be like a seed, in the end it will become a tree. But the tree is hidden in the seed, so the beginning is just the seed.
Whatsoever the ultimate goal, it must be hidden here and now, just in you, in the very beginning. If it is not there in the beginning you cannot achieve it in the end. Of course there will be a difference: in the beginning it can only be a seed, in the end it will be the total flowering. You may not be able to recognize it when it is a seed, but it is there whether you recognize it or not. So when Patanjali says non-attachment is needed in the very beginning of the journey, he is not saying that it will not be needed in the end.
Non-attachment in the beginning will be with effort, non-attachment in the end will be spontaneous. In the beginning you will have to be conscious about it, in the end there will be no need to be conscious about it. It will be just your natural flow.
In the beginning you have to practice it. Constant alertness will be needed. A struggle will be there with your past, with your patterns of attachment; fight will be there. In the end there will be no fight, no alternative, no choice. You will simply flow in the direction of desirelessness. That will have become your nature.
But remember, whatsoever is the goal, it has to be practiced from the very beginning. The first step is also the last. So one has to be very careful about the first step. If the first is in the right direction, only then will the last be achieved. If you miss the first step you have missed all.
This will come again and again to your mind, so understand it deeply because Patanjali will say many things which look like ends. Non-violence is the end, when a person becomes so compassionate, so deeply love-filled that there is no violence, no possibility of violence. Love or non-violence is the end, but Patanjali will say to practice it from the very beginning.