There are a famous emperor by name Shanthanu. He ruled from Hastinapur. He had a wise and brave son by name Devavratha.Ganga, who was born in the world as a result of a curse, was his mother. She married emperor Shantanu on certainconditions. Time had come for her to go to her resting place, heaven and she left the king. Shanthanu remained single for a long time after this incident. On one occasion he met Satyavathi the daughter of Dashraja and he fell in lovewith her. He wanted to marry her. Dashraja insisted that he would permit his daughter to marry the king only if hersons were made the legal heirs to the throne.
The king was broken hearted as he had a great son who was already declared to be the heir apparent to the throne.Devavratha, who loved and respected his father, came to know about his father's plight. He went to Dasharaja andpromised him that he would not stake his claim for the throne and also that he would not marry. Thus he paved the way for his father's marriage with Satyavathi. His oath that he would never marry won the acclaim of gods and he cameto be called Bhishma. Emperor Shanthanu married Satyavathi. From her the king got two sons, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya.
Chitrangada was a great hero. He was very proud of his valour. He would invite all those whom the world consideredgreat heroes, fight a duel with each and defeat everyone. As a result, he became very proud and began to look downupon everyone. His arrogance brought about his downfall. A gandharva king by name Chitrangada(the price's namestake)heard about the princes arrogance and he attacked Hastinapur and invited him to a duel. In the bloody battle that followed the prince was killed. Bhishma crowned Vichitravirya the king. He also brought Ambike and Ambalike, daughtersof the king of Kashi and married them to him. As Bhishma was looking after the administration of the land, Vichitravirya the king began to spend his time with his pretty queens. As bad luck would have it, the king became a victimof the dreaded disease tuberculosis and he succumbed to it. Bhishma refused to become the king as he had vowed not todo so. It was a terrible time for the Kuru dynasty as there was no heir to the throne of Hastinapura. Queen motherSatyavathi was greatly worried. Suddently she remembered her son Vedavyasa. She consulted Bhishma and called her son.In a trice he appeared before his mother, touched her feet and said, "Dear mother, what made you call me? what can Ido for you?"
Then Satyavathi narrated to him her tale of sorrow and she said, " Dear son, your brother Vichitavirya passed away issueless. Our kuru line is in danger of becoming extinct. There is no one to occupy the throne. Please bless Ambikeand Ambalike with child.
Vedavyasa said,"Dear mother, they have to do the vritha I am ging to suggest. Then I will bless them so that they bear children."
satyavathi was not happy with the suggestion. She said,"One year is too long a period taking into account the presentsituation. I cannot wait that long. Do something now to help me." Vedavyasa finally agreed to help his mother.Ambike came to Vedavyasa. The moment she saw him, she closed her eyes in great fear. She had led a very comfortablelife in the palace and she had not seen a sage who spent his life in a forest. He had led a simple life taking baththree times a day(morning, noon and evening) performing strict Vritas. He led a life pure and simple. She found hisappearance very strange. If she had performed vritas as suggested by Vedavyasa, she would have understood his radiantpersonality better. But when she saw a lean man with long beard amd matted hair, wrapping himself with deer skin. Shenaturally frightened and stood before him with her eyes closed.