In the Mahabharata, Ambika is the second of three daughters of King Darmamuka of Kasi. With her older sister Amba and her younger sister Ambalika, she was abducted from her swayamvari by Bhima.

Bhima gave Ambika and Ambalika to King Vicitravirya for his wives. But the king died before his wives had any sons. The Queen Mother, Satyavati, persuaded her oldest and illegitimate son, the sage Vyasa, to beget children on the widowed queens.

Being a sage, Vyasa probably hadn't washed in years, and was quite frighteningly disgusting. Ambika closed her eyes in revulsion to endure their union. Because of this, her son Dhritarastra was born blind.