Gaudiya Vaishnavas are the followers of the mystic avatar Sri Chaitanya (1486-1534). Sri Chaitanya worshiped Radha and Krishna and popularized the practice of kirtan (congregational chanting of the names of God). His followers revere him as an incarnation of Krishna, prophesied in the later chapters of The Srimad Bhagavam, who appeared to teach the path of Bhakti.
Sri Chaitanya taught the belief in one supreme God, the ultimate manifestation being in the form of Krishna, accompanied by Radha, whose power and majesty is secondary to his beauty, love and sweetness. They believe that the Absolute Truth, or God, is all-attractive and has both a male and female nature that is beyond the influences of this temporary world.
Regarding the nature of the self, Sri Chaitanya taught that consciousness is not a product of matter but is rather a symptom of the soul. All souls are eternal, never losing their individuality. They are simultaneously the same as God in nature, yet different, being always dependent. In their conditioned state they are under the influence of matter and in their liberated state they are free in their natural expression of pure devotion with God.
Sri Caitanya taught that the ultimate realization of God is intimate and personal. The discovery of a personal relation with the Absolute is “the most secret of all secrets”, the highest truth which sages, yogis and philosophers have been seeking since the dawn of time. After penetrating into the deepest, most confidential aspect of the spiritual journey one finds God to be a person whose beauty, charm and love is all pervading and infinite. The essence of spiritual perfection for a Bhakti-yogi is to awaken ecstatic love for God, which is the intrinsic nature of the soul.