In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, Twelfth Chapter, verse 11, Śukadeva Gosvāmī tells King Parīkṣit, "My dear King, Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead to the learned transcendentalist, He is the supreme happiness for the impersonalist, He is the supreme worshipable Deity for the devotee, and He is just like an ordinary boy to one who is under the spell of māyā. And just imagine—these cowherd boys are now playing with the Supreme Person as though they were on an equal level! By this anyone can understand that these boys must have accumulated heaps of the results of pious activities to enable them to associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in such intimate friendship."
There is a description of Kṛṣṇa's feeling for His vayasyas in Vṛndāvana. He once said to Balarāma, "My dear brother, when My companions were being devoured by the Aghāsura, hot tears poured down from My eyes. And as they were washing My cheeks, My dear elder brother, for at least one moment I completely lost Myself."
Within Gokula, Kṛṣṇa's vayasyas are generally divided into four groups: (1) well-wishers, (2) friends, (3) confidential friends and (4) intimate friends. Kṛṣṇa's well-wisher friends are a little bit older than Kṛṣṇa, and they have some parental affection for Him. Because of their being older than Kṛṣṇa, they always try to protect Him from any harm. As such, they sometimes bear weapons so that they can chastise any mischievous persons who want to do harm to Kṛṣṇa. Counted among the well-wisher friends are Subhadra, Maṇḍalībhadra, Bhadravardhana, Gobhaṭa, Yakṣa, Indrabhaṭa, Bhadrāṅga, Vīrabhadra, Mahāguṇa, Vijaya and Balabhadra. They are older than Kṛṣṇa and are always thinking of His welfare.
One of the elderly friends said, "My dear Maṇḍalībhadra, why are you wielding a shining sword as though you were running toward Ariṣṭāsura to kill him? My dear Baladeva, why are You unnecessarily bearing that heavy plow? My dear Vijaya, don't be unnecessarily agitated. My dear Bhadravardhana, there is no need to make these threatening motions. If you will all look more closely you will see that it is only a thundercloud upon Govardhana Hill; it is not the Ariṣṭāsura in the shape of a bull, as you have imagined." These older, well-wishing friends of Kṛṣṇa had imagined a large cloud to be the Ariṣṭāsura, appearing in the shape of a huge bull. In the midst of their excitement one of them ascertained that it was actually only a cloud on Govardhana Hill. He therefore informed the others not to take the trouble of worrying about Kṛṣṇa, because there was no present danger from Ariṣṭāsura.
Among the well-wisher friends, Maṇḍalībhadra and Balabhadra are the chiefs. Maṇḍalībhadra is described as follows. His complexion is yellowish, and his dress is very attractive. He always carries a stick of various colors. He wears a peacock feather on his head and always looks very beautiful. Maṇḍalībhadra's attitude is revealed in this statement: "My dear friends, our beloved Kṛṣṇa is now very tired from working with the cows in the pasturing grounds and from traveling all over the forests. I can see that He is very fatigued. Let me massage His head silently while He is taking rest in His house. And you, Subala—you just massage His thighs."
One devotee described the personal beauty of Baladeva as follows "Let me take shelter of the lotus feet of Balarāma, whose beauty is enhanced by the earrings touching His cheeks. His face is decorated with tilaka made from kastūrī (musk), and His broad chest is decorated with a garland of guñjā (small conchshells). His complexion is as white as an autumn cloud, He wears garments of blue color, and His voice is very grave. His arms are very long, touching His thighs, and He has shown His great strength by killing the Pralamba demon. Let me take shelter of this chivalrous Balarāma."
Baladeva's affection for Kṛṣṇa is illustrated in this statement to Subala: "My dear friend, please inform Kṛṣṇa not to go to Kāliya's lake today. Today is His birthday, and so I wish to go along with mother Yaśodā to bathe Him. Tell Him He should not leave the house today." This shows how Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa's elder brother, took care of Kṛṣṇa with parental love, within the scope of fraternal affection.