When ecstatic love develops into the relationship of parenthood and becomes steadily established, the relationship is called vātsalya-rasa. The exhibition of this vātsalya-rasa standard of devotional service can be found in the dealings of Kṛṣṇa with His devotees who represent themselves as superior personalities like father, mother, teacher, etc.
Learned scholars have described the impetus of parental love for Kṛṣṇa, existing in the elderly personalities who are in relation with Him, as follows: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose bodily complexion is just like a bluish, new-grown lotus flower, whose body is very delicate and whose lotus eyes are surrounded by scattered hair as black as bees, was walking on the streets of Vṛndāvana when Mother Yaśodā, the beloved wife of Nanda Mahārāj, saw Him. Immediately the milk began to flow from her breasts, soaking her body." Some specific provocations for parental love of Kṛṣṇa are listed as His blackish bodily hue, which is very attractive and pleasing to see, His all-auspicious bodily features, His mildness, His sweet words, His simplicity, His shyness, His humility, His constant readiness to offer respect to the elderly, and His charity. All of these qualities are considered ecstatic provocations for parental love.
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, 8th Chapter, 35th verse, it is stated by Śukadeva Gosvāmī that Mother Yaśodā accepted Lord Kṛṣṇa as her son, although He is accepted in the Vedas as the King of heaven, in the Upaniṣads as the impersonal Brahman and in philosophy as the supreme male. By the yogīs He is accepted as the supersoul and by the devotees as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Once Mother Yaśodā addressed one of her friends in this way: "Nanda Mahārāj, the leader of the cowherdsmen, worshiped Lord Viṣṇu along with me, and as a result of this worshiping Kṛṣṇa has been saved from the clutches of Pūtanā and other demons. The twin arjuna trees were, of course, broken due to a strong wind, and although Kṛṣṇa appeared to have lifted Govardhan Hill along with Balarāma, I think that Nanda Mahārāj actually held the mountain. Otherwise how could it have been possible for a little boy to lift such a great hill?" This is another example of ecstasy in parental love. This kind of parental love is generated in a devotee out of his conviction, in love, that he himself is superior to Kṛṣṇa and that without being taken care of by such devotee Kṛṣṇa could not possibly live. One devotee therefore prayed to the parents of Lord Kṛṣṇa as follows: "Let me take shelter of the elderly parental devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. They are always anxious to serve Kṛṣṇa and to maintain Him, and they are always so kind to Him. Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto them for being so kind to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the parent of the whole universe!"
There is a similar prayer by a brāhmaṇa who says, "Let others worship the Vedas and the Upaniṣads, and let others worship the Mahābhārata if they are afraid of material existence and want to become liberated from that condition. But as far as I am concerned, I wish only to worship Mahārāj Nanda because the supreme absolute Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is crawling in his courtyard as his own child."
Following is a list of respectful personalities who enjoy parental affection toward Kṛṣṇa: 1) Mother Yaśodā, the Queen of Braja, 2) Mahārāj Nanda, the King of Braja, 3) Mother Rohiṇī, the mother of Balarāma, 4) all the elderly gopīs whose sons were taken away by Lord Brahmā, 5) Devakī, the wife of Vasudeva, 6) the other fifteen wives of Vasudeva, 7) Kuntī, the mother of Arjuna, 8) Vasudeva, the real father of Kṛṣṇa, and 9) Sāndīpani Muni, Kṛṣṇa's teacher. All these are considered respectable elderly personalities with parental love for Kṛṣṇa. This list is in order of superior importance, and thus we can see that Mother Yaśodā and Mahārāj Nanda are considered to be the supermost of all elderly personalities.