King Shantanu of Hastinapur and his wife Satyawati had two
sons, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Bhishma, another son of Shantanu,
was their guardian. When King Shantanu died Chitrangada was made the king, but when he too died in a battle, Vichitravirya became the king.
One day, Satyawati asked Bhishma to find brides for Vichitravirya.
Bhishma went to the court of the king of Kashi where he was holding
a swayamvara for his three daughters. When the other princes saw Bhishma,
they joked that an old man like him had come to marry the young
princesses. At this, Bhishma got angry. He forcefully brought the
three princesses to Hastinapur. But the first princess, Amba, said that
she wanted to marry Prince Shalva. So Bhishma sent her to him. Ambika
and Ambalika were married to Vichitravirya.
One day, Ambika and Ambalika went with their maid to visit Saint Vyasa,
who was very ugly. When Ambika saw his face she closed her eyes. So Vyasa
cursed her saying she would give birth to a blind son. When Ambalika saw
him, she turned pale. Vyasa said that a pale and weak son would be born
to her. When the maid saw Vyasa, she was fearless, so Vyasa blessed her
saying that a very intelligent son would be born to her.
As time passed, Ambila gave birth to Prince Dhritarashtra, who was
strong but blind. Ambalika gave birth to Pandu who was a great shooter
but weak. Though Dhritarashtra was elder, he was not made the king, as
he was blind. Instead Pandu became the king. The maid's son Vidura was
very wise and was made a minister in the court.