Very little is known about the early years of Madhavendra Puri, as from the majority of sources he had already become a renunciant - a sannyasi. After making an extensive pilgrimage of India as a sannyasi he passed the remaining period of his life in Vrndavana and Orissa. The main source of knowledge about this personality is Caitanya Caritamrita. What is known is that he was a sannyasi of the Madhva line being a disciple of Lakshmipati Tirtha and it appears that Madhavendra was the founder of the Vaishnava centre at Mathura, Vrindavana. He is considered as a fountainhead of devotional worship of Krishna and he started the worship of the Gopala deity, better known as Shrinathji. He is attributed to the mysterious discovery of the famous deity of Gopala near Govardhana that was later worshipped by Vallabhacharya, a follower of Vishnuswami in Rudra sampradaya, who in turn was influenced by the devotional mood of Vrindavana.
It is believed that Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s service in feelings of separation viraha begins with a single verse spoken by Madhavendra Puri, (his grand preceptor):
"O, my beloved Lord, the friend of the afflicted! He Mathura-natha, when, when shall I see you? Without seeing you, my heart is perplexed, my beloved, and I am very restless! What am I to do?"
In accordance with Gaudiya Vaishnava sources he is believed to belong to the Madhvacharyalineage that has been transcribed in books like Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika,Prameya-ratnavali and the writings of Gopala Guru Goswami. There is a version of this line of gurus recorded as a version found in the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika which matches other historical records. He had many disciples but Advaita Acarya and Isvara Puri are believed to be the chief disciples of Madhavendra Puri.
The early History of the famous deity of Khirachora Gopinatha (Ksirachora Gopinath) is not given in Gaudiya texts – it is given by Vinod Bijaya Babaji in Gopinatha Caritamrta. However, there is a large account of his interactions with this Deity in Caitanya caritamrita, the foundational book for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
^Sen, Sukuma (1971). History of Bengali Literature. Sahitya Akademi th. Page 78: “It appears that Madhavendra was the founder of the Vaishnav centre at Mathura”
^Sukumar Sen, 1971. Page 77: “Started the worship of image of Gopala (Bala Gopala) in Vrindavana.”
^Bhandarkar, Ramkrishna.G. (1995). Vaisnavism Saivism and Minor Religious Systems. Asian Educational Services.Page 109: “Vallabha lived for some time in Vrndavana and for some time at Mathura.” It is alleged that Gopala-Krsna manifested himself on the Govardhana. Vallabha Vedantic system is the same as his predecessor Vishnuswami. This Vishnuswami was the son of a councillor of a Dravida vassal under Emperior of Delhi. “In his disciplic succession others such as Jnanadeva, Namdeva, Trilochana and Vallabha appeared.”
^The Philosophy and Religion of Śrī Caitanya. Page 31 O. B. L. Kapoor, 1977,248 pages — Caitanya Caritamrta also records how Vallabha, who had introduced the worship of Bala-Gopala in his sect, was influenced by the Madhura Rasa .
^Page 36 Stuart Mark Elkman, Jīva Gosvāmī - 1986
“After being commanded by the deity to worship him with sandalwood from the South,
Madhavendra set off for the Malaya Mountains”
^The Hare Krishnas in India — Page 46
Charles R. Brooks – 1992 “Some writers would even give Madhavendra Puri credit for initiating the movement which Chaitanya would eventually inspire”
^Kennedy, M.T. (1925). The Chaitanya Movement: A Study ofVaishnavism ofBengal. New York: Oxford University Press.
^History of Medieval Vaishnavism in Orissa — Mukherjee Prabhat 65
“Madhavendra puri is preceptor of Caitanya Mahaprabhus guru”
^Hare Krsna Movement: The Unifying Force of the Hindu Religion, Haripada Adhikary – 1995 Page 116
^ayi dIna-dayArdra nAtha he
dayita bhrAmyati kiM karomy aham
^Sri Prameya-ratnavali (The Jewel Necklace of Truths). 32pp. Rasbihari Lal & Sons 2009. ISBN81-8403-060-6
^paravyomesvarasyasic chisyo brahma jagat-patih tasya sisyo narado 'bhut vyasas tasyapa sisyatam suko vyasasya sisyatvam prapto jnanavabodhanat vyasal labdha-krsna-dikso madhvacaryo mahayasah tasya sisyo naraharis tacchisyo madhava-dvijah aksobhyas tasya sisyo 'bhut tac-chisyo jayatirthakah tasya sisyo jnana-sindhus tasya sisyo mahanidhih vidyanidhis tasya sisyo rajendras tasya sevakah jayadharma munis tasya sisyo yad-gana-madhyatah srimad-visnu-puri yas tu bhaktiratnavali-krtih jayadharmasya sisyo 'bhud brahmanyah purusottahmah vyasatirthas tasya sisyo yas cakre visnusamhitam sriman laksmipatis tasya sisyo bhaktirasasrayah tasya sisyo madhavendro yad-dharmo 'yam pravartitah tasya sisyo 'bhavat sriman isvarakhya-puri-yatih kalayamasa srngaram yah srngara-phalatmakah advaitam kalayamasa dasya-sakhye phale ubhe isvarakhya-purim-gaura urarikrtya gaurave jagad aplavayamasa prakrtaprakrtatmakam
Brahma, the master of this universe, was the disciple of the Lord of the spiritual world. His disciple was Narada and Vyasa became the disciple of Narada. Suka became the disciple of Vyasa through the endowment of spiritual knowledge. Madhvacharya took initiation in the Krishna mantra from Vyasa. His disciple was Padmanabhacarya, whose disciple was Narahari, who was followed by Madhva Dvija. Akshobhya was his disciple, then Jayatirtha, Jnanasindhu, Mahanidhi, Vidyanidhi and Rajendra followed. Jayadharma Muni was one of Rajendra's many disciples and Vishnu Puri, the author of Bhakti-ratnavali and Purushottam, the lover of Brahmin culture became his disciples. Vyasa Tirtha, the author of Visnu-samhita, was the disciple of Purushottam. Lakshmipati Tirtha, a reservoir of devotion, was Vyasa Tirtha's disciple. Madhavendra Puri was the disciple of Lakshmipati, and it is by him that the religion was founded. His disciple, the sannyasi Ishvara Puri, took up the mood of conjugal devotion, while Advaita Acharya (also the disciple of Madhavendra) took up the moods of servitude and friendship. Gaura accepted Ishvara Puri as his guru, and then flooded the material and spiritual worlds (with love).
^The same set of verses is found with some slight differences in the Bhakti-ratnakara (5.2549-2162).
^Mukherjee, P. (1940). The History of Medieval Vaishnavism in Orissa. R. Chatterjee. ISBN81-206-0229-3.p. 66