Krishna rescues the cowherds from the mouth of the demon Aghasura. He brings them to the sandy banks of the Yamuna. "What a charming place this Yamuna is, with its unsullied sands, O friends! Such a delightful place. We're famished too. Let's have our lunch here! Meanwhile the calves can also rest and drink water."
Seated together around Krishna in rows, each one facing him, the boys of Vraja looked like petals of the lotus. They describe the taste of their own lunch, served in lotus leaves for plates. Krishna tucked his flute in the right side of his loin cloth. He had a horn and cane under his left armpit and was holding a curd-rice morsel in his left hand. He had five different pickles stuck in between the fingers, which he licked from the back of his hand. He was seated in the middle, inducing laughter all around.
The calves which were grazing, strayed farther away into the woods, lured by luxuriant pastures. Krishna said, "Friends, don't stop eating. I shall go and fetch the calves." The morsel still in hand, Krishna went in search of the calves.
Brahma who was watching all this, was astonished. He carries away the calves to another place, and later on the cowherd boys too. He hid himself to watch further exploits of Krishna.
Krishna, not finding the calves, comes back to the spot where they were having lunch, but could not find the cowherds too. He perceived it to be the act of Brahma. Krishna assumes the forms of all the calves as well as their keepers, the cowherds. He also became the staffs which they carried, the slings, the flutes and the horns, exactly in the same form and numbers which existed earlier ... indeed every one of the people, cattle or things which Brahma had hidden. With the same clothes, ornaments, the same dispositions, name, age, etc., Krishna returned to Vraja, with himself as all the cowherds, calves and things, to their respective homes. The mothers of the cowherds and the mothers of the calves never felt the difference and showered affection on their little ones, and so also, Krishna reciprocated their affection in the same way. Everyday Krishna would take the calves out to grace and get back in the evening with them. There was not an iota of doubt in anyone that these were not their real sons or calves. The routine continued for one year.
Just a week short of a year, Balarama notices the abundant love developing in the cowherds and the calves. He wonders at the cause of such enchantment. He understands that it was the work of yogamaya, the deluding potency of Krishna. He now perceives everything as Krishna. Krishna briefs Balarama about all that had happened.
Brahma returns to the spot in a year, which is momentary according to his measure of time. He observes Krishna playing along with his friends, as though nothing had happened. He could not ascertain by any means which was the real cowherd and which was the Lord. Trying to delude Krishna, the creator Brahma was himself deluded. Now he could see all the cowherds and calves, each of one of them as Vishnu, with four arms, bejeweled, draped in yellow silk and sporting a charming smile. Brahma stood mute like a doll beside the presiding deity of Vraja, Krishna. Krishna was still holding the morsel of food in his hand.
Brahma hastily got off from his swan mount and stretched his body on the ground like a golden staff. He bathed Krishna's foot with tears of joy. He recollects himself, although trembling from head to toe, and with his head bent low and mind composed, he joins his palms with respect and humility to extoll the Lord in a faltering voice.
"Look at my wickedness, O Lord, in that I sought to witness my own glory, casting a spell on you. Forgive this fault of mine which is a product of rajo guna. I was blinded by crass ignorance, in the form of an egotistic notion that I am the birthless creator. Does the kicking up the heels by the foetus constitute an offence against the mother, O Lord? Is it not true that I have sprung from the lotus at the navel of Lord Narayana? Today you have shown me that you alone exist, in all the various forms in as many universes. Wonderful and remarkable is the fortune of Vraja, whose inhabitants enjoy the beauty of your entire being at all times." Brahma goes around Krishna thrice (proceeding clockwise) and returns to his realm.
Krishna brings back the calves and the cowherd boys to the same position as they were, before being hidden by Brahma. He gets back to his companions who were waiting for him, unaware that a whole year had gone by. "Krishna, good that you have come, we have not taken a morsel of food, come along and join us." Krishna laughed heartily and has lunch with them. While returning he showed them the skin of the python, that of Aghasura. When they return to Vraja, the boys sing his glory, " Today our Krishna has saved us all from a large serpent."
Balarama and Krishna pass their childhood in Vraja occupying themselves with pastimes such as hide-and-seek, and playing leap-frog with their friends.