When the caste system was born in the Hindu society, the seed of admixture of castes was also sown. Even as early as the Mahābhārata period, such admixture (varṇasaṅkara) was deplored. One of the several castes born out of such admixture is the ambaṣṭha, the offspring of a brāhmaṇa father and a vaiśya mother. Practice of medicine and surgery as also agriculture are the professions recommended for this caste. Some books make the ambaṣṭha the offspring of a kṣattriya father from a vaiśya mother. Fighting is the vocation recommended.
Ambaṣṭha seems to be the name of a country also. A king, Āmbaṣṭhya, is said to have performed Aśvamedha sacrifice (vide Aitareya Brāhmaṇa 39.7). Mahā-bhārata mentions another king Ambaṣṭha who fought on the side of the Kauravas and met his death at the hands of Arjuna. Kaṁsa’s mahout who tried to assassinate Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa was also known as Ambaṣṭha.