As the dust on the lotus flower exhibits the exquisite beauty of the flower, all the gopīs (cowherd women) applied the dust of kuṅkuma on their lotuslike faces. These beautiful gopīs took their different presentations and very soon reached the house of Mahārāja Nanda. Overburdened with their heavy hips and swollen breasts, the gopīs could not proceed very quickly toward the house of Nanda Mahārāja, but out of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa they proceeded as quickly as possible. Their ears were decorated with pearl rings, their necks were decorated with jeweled lockets, their lips and eyes were decorated with different kinds of lipstick and ointment, and their hands were decorated with nice golden bangles. As they were very hastily passing over the stone road, the flower garlands which were decorating their bodies fell to the ground, and it appeared that a shower of flowers was falling from the sky. From the movement of the different kinds of ornaments on their bodies, they were looking still more beautiful. In this way, they all reached the house of Nanda-Yaśodā and blessed the child: “Dear child, You live long just to protect us.” While they were blessing child Kṛṣṇa in this way, they offered a mixture of turmeric powder, oil, yogurt, milk and water. They sprinkled this mixture not only on the body of child Kṛṣṇa but on all other persons who were present there. Also on that auspicious occasion, there were different bands of expert musicians playing.
When the cowherd men saw the pastimes of the cowherd women, they became very joyful, and in response they also began to throw yogurt, milk, clarified butter and water upon the bodies of the gopīs. Then both parties began to throw butter on each other’s bodies. Nanda Mahārāja was also very happy to see the pastimes of the cowherd men and women, and he became very liberal in giving charity to the different singers who were assembled there. Some singers were reciting great verses from the Upaniṣads and Purāṇas, some were glorifying the family ancestors, and some were singing very sweet songs. There were also many learned brāhmaṇas present, and Nanda Mahārāja, being very satisfied on this occasion, gave them different kinds of garments, ornaments and cows in charity.
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.