Actually They are not our sons; They belong to you. Nanda Mahārāja and you are the real father and mother of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. As long as They were under your care They had not even a pinch of difficulty. Under your protection, They were completely out of the way of all kinds of fear. This most affectionate care which you have taken for Them is completely befitting your elevated position. The most noble personalities do not discriminate between their own sons and the sons of others, and there cannot be any personalities more noble than Nanda Mahārāja and you.”
As far as the gopīs of Vṛndāvana were concerned, from the very beginning of their lives they did not know anything beyond Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were their life and soul. The gopīs were so attached to Kṛṣṇa that they could not even tolerate not seeing Him momentarily when their eyelids blinked and impeded their vision. They condemned Brahmā, the creator of the body, because he foolishly made eyelids which blinked and checked their seeing Kṛṣṇa. Because they had been separated from Kṛṣṇa for so many years, the gopīs, having come along with Nanda Mahārāja and mother Yaśodā, felt intense ecstasy upon seeing Kṛṣṇa. No one can even imagine how eager the gopīs were to see Kṛṣṇa again. As soon as Kṛṣṇa became visible to them, they took Him inside their hearts through their eyes and embraced Him to their full satisfaction. Even though they were embracing Kṛṣṇa only mentally, they became so ecstatic and overwhelmed with joy that for the time being they completely forgot themselves. The ecstatic trance they achieved simply by mentally embracing Kṛṣṇa is impossible to achieve even for great yogīs constantly engaged in meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa could understand that the gopīs were rapt in ecstasy by embracing Him in their minds, and therefore, since He is present in everyone’s heart, He reciprocated the embracing from within.
Kṛṣṇa was sitting with mother Yaśodā and His other mothers, Devakī and Rohiṇī, but when the mothers engaged in talking, He took the opportunity and went to a secluded place to meet the gopīs. As soon as He approached the gopīs, the Lord smiled, and after embracing them and inquiring about their welfare, He began to encourage them, saying, “My dear friends, you know that Lord Balarāma and I left Vṛndāvana just to please Our relatives and family members. Thus We were long engaged in fighting with Our enemies and were obliged to forget you, who were so much attached to Me in love and affection. I can understand that I have been ungrateful to you, but still I know that you are faithful to Me. May I inquire if you have been thinking of Us, although We had to leave you behind? My dear gopīs, do you now dislike remembering Me, considering Me to have been ungrateful to you? Do you take My misbehavior with you very seriously?
“After all, you should know that it was not My intention to leave you; our separation was ordained by Providence, who after all is the supreme controller and does as He desires. He causes the intermingling of different persons, and again disperses them as He desires. Sometimes we see that a strong wind will mingle together clouds, atomic particles of dust or broken pieces of cotton, and after the strong wind subsides, all the clouds, particles of dust and pieces of cotton are again separated, scattered in different places. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is the creator of everything. The objects we see are different manifestations of His energy. By His supreme will we are sometimes united and sometimes separated. We can therefore conclude that ultimately we are absolutely dependent on His will.