Sri Chaitanya was the greatest and most popular of Vaishnava saints. The Bhakti Movement took a different turn under the leadership of Sri Chaitanya otherwise known Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He became so popular that during the medieval age he was regarded by his followers as an incarnation of Vishnu. At the age of 22 he visited Gaya and was initiated into the Krishna cult by a sage. He became an ardent devotee of Krishna and always uttered his name.
At the age of twenty four he became a Sanyasi and spent the rest of his life preaching the messages of love and devotion. He travelled over most parts of the country. He spent considerable part of his life at Brindaban and Puri. From A.D. 1515 till his death in 1533 Chaitanya remained at Puri, which became a great centre of the Vaishnavite movement. Prataparudra Deva, the Gajapati king of Orissa, received the saint with respect and became one of his famous patrons and disciples. He spent long eighteen years in Orissa.
Like other preachers of Bhakti cult, Chaitanya preached worship of Radha-Krishna as the only means of attaining the highest bliss. He preached faith in Vishnu and believed that through love and devotion, song and dance, a state of bliss could be produced where the personal presence of God could be realised. Universal love and brotherhood as the first step to the love of God. His teachings were meant for all.
Like other saints of Bhakti Movement Sri Chaitanya condemned the caste system and baseless rituals. His teachings were meant for all and his followers included low caste Hindus and even Muslims. He was a champion of social liberation. He embraced the so called Chandala and the socially oppressed classes. He had a large number of followers in Bengal, Orissa and other parts of Eastern India. One of his favourite disciples was a Muslim named Haridasa.
He also laid emphasis on moral virtues such as mercy, truth, benevolence, faith, honesty and humanity. Thus his ideas and teachings carried a universal appeal. It was a revivalist movement which brought about unity in Hindu society. Chaitanya's main concern was to exalt the superiority of Krishna over all other Hindu deities. He was a reformer of Hindu society and religion.