By Swami Harshananda
Nanda was the chieftain of the cowherds at the village Gokula. He was an intimate friend of Vasudeva, the father of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. He and his wife Yaśodā were, in a previous life, Vasus known as Droṇa and Dharā. They had performed severe austerities to get God as their son. A voice from the void had assured them that God would bless them in a future life with his childish pranks as their foster-son bringing great joy.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma spent their childhood days with Nanda and Yaśodā until they left for Mathurā for good. During this period, Śrī Kṛṣṇa saved Nanda from drowning in the river Yamunā. Many years later Nanda learnt that Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma had come to Syamantapañcaka to take a dip in the holy lake there on a solar eclipse day, hurried to the place with plenty of food and other useful things. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is said to have honored Nanda and Yaśodā in many ways and also taught spiritual wisdom to the gopīs who had come to meet him.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore