Hindu Stages Of life
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 knowledge, build character and learn to shoulder responsibilities.
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 accordance with Artha-Kama-Moksha.
After the responsibilities of Grhastha 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.
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 mysteries of life.
In ancient times one would part company with one's family and become a mendicant.