The mothers of the boys heard the vibration of their flutes before their entrance, and to receive them, they came out of their homes and embraced them. And out of maternal affection, milk was flowing from their breasts, and they allowed the boys to drink it. However, their offering was not exactly to their boys but to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had expanded Himself into such boys. This was a chance for all the mothers of Vṛndāvana to feed the Supreme Personality of Godhead with their own milk. Therefore not only did Lord Kṛṣṇa give Yaśodā the chance to feed Him, but this time He gave the chance to all the elder gopīs.
All the boys dealt with their mothers as usual, and the mothers also, on the approach of evening, bathed their respective children, decorated them with tilaka and ornaments and gave them necessary food after the day’s labor. The cows also, who had been away in the pasturing ground, returned in the evening and called their respective calves. The calves immediately came to their mothers, and the mothers began to lick the bodies of the calves. These relations of the cows and the gopīs with their calves and boys remained unchanged, although actually the original calves and boys were not there. Actually the cows’ affection for their calves and the elder gopīs’ affection for the boys causelessly increased. Their affection increased naturally, even though the calves and boys were not their offspring. Although the cows and elder gopīs of Vṛndāvana had greater affection for Kṛṣṇa than for their own offspring, after this incident their affection for their offspring increased unlimitedly, exactly as it did for Kṛṣṇa. For one year continuously, Kṛṣṇa Himself expanded as the calves and cowherd boys and was present in the pasturing ground.
As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa’s expansion is situated in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. Similarly, instead of expanding Himself as the Supersoul, He expanded Himself as a portion of calves and cowherd boys for one continuous year.
One day, a few days before a year had passed, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were maintaining the calves in the forest when They saw some cows grazing on the top of Govardhana Hill. The cows could see down into the valley where the calves were being taken care of by the boys. Suddenly, on sighting the calves, the cows began to run toward them. They leaped downhill with joined front and rear legs. The cows were so melted with affection for the calves that they did not care about the rough path from the top of Govardhana Hill down to the pasturing ground. They approached the calves with their milk bags full of milk, and they raised their tails upwards. When they were coming down the hill, their milk bags were pouring milk on the ground out of intense maternal affection for the calves, although they were not their own calves. These cows had their own calves, and the calves that were grazing beneath Govardhana Hill were larger; they were not expected to drink milk directly from the milk bag but were satisfied with the grass. Yet all the cows came immediately and began to lick their bodies, and the calves also began to suck milk from the milk bags. There appeared to be a great bond of affection between the cows and calves.
When the cows were running down from the top of Govardhana Hill, the men who were taking care of them tried to stop them. Older cows are taken care of by the men, and the calves are taken care of by the boys; and as far as possible, the calves are kept separate from the cows, so that the calves do not drink all the available milk. Therefore the men who were taking care of the cows on the top of Govardhana Hill tried to stop them, but they failed. Baffled by their failure, they were feeling ashamed and angry. They were very unhappy, but when they came down and saw their children taking care of the calves, they all of a sudden became very affectionate toward the children. It was very astonishing. Although the men came down disappointed, baffled and angry, as soon as they saw their own children, their hearts melted with great affection. At once their anger, dissatisfaction and unhappiness disappeared. They began to show paternal love for the children, and with great affection they lifted them in their arms and embraced them. They began to smell their children’s heads and enjoy their company with great happiness. After embracing their children, the men took the cows back to the top of Govardhana Hill. Along the way they began to think of their children, and affectionate tears fell from their eyes.
When Balarāma saw this extraordinary exchange of affection between the cows and the calves and between the fathers and their children—when neither the calves nor the children needed so much care—He began to wonder why this extraordinary thing had happened. He was astonished to see all the residents of Vṛndāvana so affectionate to their own children, exactly as they had been to Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, the cows had grown affectionate to the calves—as much as to Kṛṣṇa. Balarāma therefore concluded that the extraordinary show of affection was something mystical, either performed by the demigods or by some powerful man. Otherwise, how could this wonderful change take place? He concluded that this mystical change must have been caused by Kṛṣṇa, whom Balarāma considered His worshipable Personality of Godhead. He thought, “It was arranged by Kṛṣṇa, and even I could not check its mystic power.” Thus Balarāma understood that all those boys and calves were only expansions of Kṛṣṇa.