It is very important to note in this connection how wealthy the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana were simply by raising cows. All the cowherd men belonged to the vaiśya community, and their business was to protect the cows and cultivate crops. By their dress and ornaments, and by their behavior, it appears that although they were in a small village, they still were rich in material possessions. They possessed such an abundance of various kinds of milk products that they were throwing butter lavishly on each other’s bodies without restriction. Their wealth was in milk, yogurt, clarified butter and many other milk products, and by trading their agricultural products, they were rich in various kinds of jewelry, ornaments and costly garments. Not only did they possess all these things, but they could give them away in charity lavishly, as did Nanda Mahārāja.
Thus Nanda Mahārāja, the foster father of Lord Kṛṣṇa, began to satisfy the desires of all the men assembled there. He respectfully received them and gave them in charity whatever they desired. The learned brāhmaṇas, who had no other source of income, were completely dependent on the vaiśya community for their maintenance, and they received gifts on such festive occasions as birthdays and marriages. While Nanda Mahārāja was worshiping Lord Viṣṇu on this occasion and was trying to satisfy all the people there, his only desire was that the newborn child Kṛṣṇa would be happy. Nanda Mahārāja had no knowledge that this child was the origin of Viṣṇu; he was praying to Lord Viṣṇu to protect Him.
Rohiṇīdevī, the mother of Balarāma, was the most fortunate wife of Vasudeva. She was away from her husband, yet just to congratulate Mahārāja Nanda on the occasion of the birth ceremony of his son, Kṛṣṇa, she dressed herself very nicely. Wearing a garland, a necklace and other bodily ornaments, she appeared on the scene and moved hither and thither. According to the Vedic system, a woman whose husband is not at home does not dress herself very nicely. But although Rohiṇī’s husband was away, she still dressed herself very nicely on this occasion.
From the opulence of the birth ceremony of Kṛṣṇa, it is very clear that at that time Vṛndāvana was rich in every respect. Because Lord Kṛṣṇa took birth in the house of King Nanda and mother Yaśodā, the goddess of fortune was obliged to manifest her opulences in Vṛndāvana. It appeared that Vṛndāvana had already become a site for the pastimes of the goddess of fortune.
After the birth ceremony, Nanda Mahārāja decided to go to Mathurā to pay the annual tax to the government of Kaṁsa. Before leaving, he called for the able cowherd men of the village and asked them to take care of Vṛndāvana in his absence. When Nanda Mahārāja arrived in Mathurā, Vasudeva got the news and was very eager to congratulate his friend. He immediately went to the place where Nanda Mahārāja was staying. When Nanda saw Vasudeva, he felt that he had regained his life. Nanda, overwhelmed with joy, immediately stood up and embraced Vasudeva. Vasudeva was received very warmly and offered a nice place to sit. Anxious about his two sons, who had been put under the protection of Nanda without Nanda’s knowledge, Vasudeva inquired about Them with great anxiety. Both Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa were the sons of Vasudeva. Balarāma was transferred to the womb of Rohiṇī, Vasudeva’s own wife, but Rohiṇī was kept under the protection of Nanda Mahārāja. Kṛṣṇa was personally delivered to Yaśodā and exchanged with her daughter. Nanda Mahārāja knew that Balarāma was the son of Vasudeva, but he did not know that Kṛṣṇa was also Vasudeva’s son. Vasudeva, of course, was aware of this fact and inquired very eagerly about both Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.
Vasudeva then addressed Nanda, “My dear brother, you were old and very anxious to beget a son, and yet you had none. Now by the grace of the Lord you are fortunate to have a very nice son. I think that this incident is very auspicious for you. Dear friend, I was imprisoned by Kaṁsa, and now I am released; therefore this is another birth for me. I had no hope of seeing you again, but by God’s grace I can see you.” In this way, Vasudeva indirectly expressed his anxiety about Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa was sent incognito to the bed of mother Yaśodā, and after Nanda very pompously celebrated Kṛṣṇa’s birth ceremony, he went to Mathurā. So Vasudeva was very much pleased and said, “This is a new birth for me.” He never expected that Kṛṣṇa would live, because all his other sons had been killed by Kaṁsa.
Vasudeva continued: “My dear friend, it is very difficult for us to live together. Although we have our family and relatives, sons and daughters, by nature’s way we are generally separated from one another. The reason for this is that every living entity appears on this earth under different pressures of fruitive activities; although they assemble together, there is no certainty of their remaining together for a long time. According to one’s fruitive activities, one has to act differently and thereby be separated. For example, many plants and creepers are floating on the waves of the ocean. Sometimes they come together, and sometimes they separate forever: one plant goes one way, and another plant goes another. Similarly, our family assembly may be very nice while we are living together, but after some time, in the course of the waves of time, we are separated.”
The purport of this expression by Vasudeva is this: although he had eight sons born in the womb of Devakī, unfortunately they were all gone. He could not even keep his one son Kṛṣṇa with him. Vasudeva was feeling His separation, but he could not express the real fact. “Please tell me about the welfare of Vṛndāvana,” he said. “You have many animals—are they happy? Are they getting sufficient grass and water? Please also let me know whether the place where you are now living is undisturbed and peaceful.” This inquiry was made by Vasudeva because he was very anxious about Kṛṣṇa’s safety. He knew that Kaṁsa and his followers were trying to kill Kṛṣṇa by sending various kinds of demons. They had already resolved that all children born within ten days of the birthday of Kṛṣṇa should be killed. Because Vasudeva was so anxious about Kṛṣṇa, he inquired about the safety of His residence. He also inquired about Balarāma and His mother, Rohiṇī, who were entrusted to the care of Nanda Mahārāja. Vasudeva also reminded Nanda Mahārāja that Balarāma did not know His real father. “He knows you as His father. And now you have another child, Kṛṣṇa, and I think you are taking very nice care of both of Them.” It is also significant that Vasudeva inquired about the welfare of Nanda Mahārāja’s animals. The animals, and especially the cows, were protected exactly in the manner of one’s children. Vasudeva was a kṣatriya, and Nanda Mahārāja was a vaiśya. It is the duty of the kṣatriyas to give protection to the citizens, and it is the duty of the vaiśyas to give protection to the cows. The cows are as important as the citizens. Just as the human citizens should be given all kinds of protection, so the cows also should be given full protection.