At a time when the common masses of India were oppressed by the fanatical Muslim rulers on one side and the tyranny of the caste system on the other, the Bhakti Movement (the Hindu spiritual renaissance through bhakti or devotion to God) started and sustained by a galaxy of great spiritual leaders from Rāmānuja to Caitanya (11th to 16th centuries A. D.) came as a great saviour. One of the important predecessors and a senior contemporary of Caitanya was Advaitācārya (16th Century A. D.) also known as Advaita or Advaita Prabhu. Not much is known of him. He was a resident of Śāntipur and a disciple of Mādhavendra Purī. It was in his house that Caitanya met his mother Śacī Devī for the first time after taking to the monastic life, and decided to stay at Purī (Orissa) for the rest of his life in deference to her wish.

Even before Viśvambhar—that is how Caitanya was known in his premonastic days—was acclaimed as a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa by the contemporary Vaiṣṇava leaders, Advaitācārya had had visions of him as an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa himself.

According to the theology developed by the later Caitanya school, Advaitācārya was an aspect of Viṣṇu.