Childhood – it is like sunrise in the morning.
Old age is like the Sunset at the end of the day.
According to Hindu Religion, there are four stages of life viz. Brahmacharya (student), Grihasta (Householder) Vanaprasta (forest dweller or Hermit in semi retirement) Sannyasi (the renounced one in full retirement) and the Dharma of each is different. The four stages of life may be said to represent periods of Preparation, Production, Service and Retirement.
1. Brahmacharya Ashrama (Student)
This stage begins when a child enters school at an early age and continues until he or she has finished all schooling . The goal is to acquire knowedge, build character and learn to shoulder resonsibilities.
2. Grihasta Ashrama (HouseHolder)
This stage begins at marriage. In this ashrama an individual pays three debts (service of God, serving sages and saints and to ancestors), and enjoys good and noble things in life in accordace with Artha-Kama-Moksha.
3. Vanaprastha Ashrama (Forest Dweller or hermit in semi retirement)
After the responsibilities of Grahastha ashrama are complete (when one’s children have reached adulthood) one enters this ashrama. This is known as ascetic or hermit stage of life. In this stage one gradually withdraws from active life and begins devoting more time to study of scriptures, contemplation and meditation.
4. Sannyasa Ashrama (the renounced one in full retirement)
This ashrama is the final stage of life in which an individual mentally renounces all worldly ties, spends all of his or her time in meditation and contemplation and ponders over the mystries of life. In ancient times one would part company with one’s family and become a mendicant
Photos source : Yahoo group circulation. (Explanation added by me )