(16th century ce)
The six immediate followers of Caitanya: the brothers Sanātana and Rūpa Gosvāmī, their cousin Jīva Gosvāmī, the south Indians Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa, and Raghunātha Dāsa. In over two hundred written works, they established the scriptural and ritual basis of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition, as well as delineating the sacred geography of Braj as the focal point for Kṛṣṇa bhakti. Unlike Caitanya himself, their medium of communication was Sanskrit, deliberately adopted to align the nascent tradition with Vedic orthodoxy (five out of the six came from brahmin families). Their conception of the Veda, however, stretched to include the Purāṇas, and especially the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. While Raghunātha Dāsa produced a collection of ecstatic devotional hymns, it was Sanātana and, especially, Rūpa and Jīva Gosvāmī who were primarily responsible for the metaphysical thought and aestheticized theology which came to characterize the tradition. Gopāla and Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa are generally considered to have established the rituals to be used in temple worship. No works by Raghunātha survive, but Gopāla's Haribhaktivilāsa has been highly influential.