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Story Of Ambika In The Mahabharata - Mother Of Dhritarashtra

Ambika was the wife of Vichitravirya and the mother of Dhritarashtra in the Mahabharata. She was the second of the three daughters of the king of Kashi, the other two being Amba (elder) and Ambalika (younger).

Having being brought to Hastinapura forcibly by Bhishma, Ambika had to marry Prince Vichitravirya, along with her sister, Ambalika, as co-wife. Vichitravirya died of consumption before a child was born to perpetuate the Kuru lineage.

Satyavati, concerned over the absence of progeny to continue the line of succession, first wanted Bhishma to marry the widow Ambika. On his refusal to do so and at his suggestion, she agreed to have the lineage continued with the help of Vyasa – her own son by Sage Parashara.

Sage Vyasa agreed to the suggestion on the condition that the princess should not be scared by his ugliness and dark complexion. But what the great sage expected came true. Ambika felt so repulsed at the sight of Sage Vyasa that she shut her eyes tight during their conjugal union. Vyasa told Satyavati that Ambika would give birth to a powerful and strong son but the child would be born blind as Ambika had shut her eyes.

Dhritarashtra was thus born blind and rendered ineligible to become the king. When Ambika was persuaded to go to Sage Vyasa to beget a second child, she sent her maid instead. The maid felt elated at this God-give opportunity and out of this union was born a boy who was later known as Vidura, ‘the wise one.’

In due course of time, Satyavati witnessed Kauravas and Pandavas feud bitterly in public during their graduation ceremony organized by Dronacharya.

She could no longer witness the downfall of her kingdom. She retired to the forest with her daughters-in-law Ambika and Ambalika. Ambika eventually died in the forest.