ānīto ’yaṁ tava pitā
tad bhavān kṣantum arhati
Your father, who is sitting here, was brought to me by a foolish, ignorant servant of mine who did not understand his proper duty. Therefore, please forgive us.
The word ayam, “this one here,” clearly indicates that Kṛṣṇa’s father, Nanda Mahārāja, was present as Varuṇa was speaking. In fact, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura states that Varuṇa had seated Śrī Nanda on a jeweled throne and had personally worshiped him out of respect.
Technically, Nanda Mahārāja was correct in entering the water just before sunrise. The following explanation is given by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī in his commentary on the first verse of this chapter: After an especially short Ekādaśī, measuring only eighteen hours, about six hours of the lunar day in which the fast had to be broken, namely the Dvādaśī, had already expired before the dawn. Since at sunrise the proper time for breaking the fast would have passed, Nanda Mahārāja decided to enter the water at an otherwise inauspicious time.
Of course, Varuṇa’s servant should have been aware of these technical details, which are meant for strict followers of the Vedic rituals. Above and beyond that, Nanda Mahārāja was acting as the Supreme Lord’s father and was therefore a most sacred person, beyond the touch of insignificant cosmic bureaucrats like the foolish servant of Varuṇa.