By Swami Harshananda
Gokula litearally means ‘the abode of cows’.
Gokula or Nandagokula was the village where the child Kṛṣṇa and his elder brother Balarāma spent their child hood days. It was a fertile and prosperous village of the cowherds situated on the bank of the river Yamunā. Nanda was the chieftain of the village.
Kṛṣṇa was attacked by many brawny demons sent by Kansa, who were destroyed by him. The people of the village migrated to the nearby Vṛndāvana which was also on the bank of the Yamunā river.
The modern Gokula is about 8 kms. from Mathurā in Uttar Pradesh. It is on the opposite lower stream of the Yamunā river. It is now the Head-quarters of the Vallabha sect of the Vaiṣṇavas.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore