And Caedmon, the poor cowherd of the abbey, was the first great poet of England.
Here he is represented as the son of a king saved from a slaughter of the innocents, brought up by a cowherd, sporting with the milkmaids, and performing miraculous feats in his childhood.
Among the names of Krishna are Gopal, the cowherd; Gopinath, the lord of the milkmaids; and Mathuranath, the lord of Muttra.
Possibly the growth of the legend of Krishna - his being reared at Go-kula (cow-station); his tender relations to the gopis, or cowherdesses, of Vrindavana; his epithets Gopala," the cowherd,"and Govinda," cow-finder,"actually explained as" recoverer of the earth "in the great epic, and the go-loka, or" cow-world,"assigned to him as his heavenly abode - may have some connexion with the sacred character ascribed to the cow from early times.
The favourite object of adoration with adherents of these sects is Krishna with his mate - but not the devoted friend and counsellor of the Pandavas and deified hero of epic song, nor the ruler of Dvaraka and wedded lord of Rukmini, but the juvenile Krishna, Govinda or Bala Gopala, "the cowherd lad," the foster son of the cowherd Nanda of Gokula, taken up with his amorous sports with the Gopis, or wives of the cowherds of Vrindavana (Brindaban,near Mathura on the Yamuna), especially his favourite mistress Radha or Radhika.
It is derived from the vernacular word for the cow, but it is a mistake to suppose that the family are of the cowherd caste; they belong to the upper class of Mahrattas proper, sometimes claiming a Rajput origin.