While He was contemplating accepting the sannyāsa order, it so happened that Keśava Bhāratī, a sannyāsī of the Māyāvādī school and resident of Katwa (in Bengal), visited Navadvīpa and was invited to dine with the Lord. When Keśava Bhāratī came to His house, the Lord asked him to award Him the sannyāsa order of life. This was a matter of formality. The sannyāsa order is to be accepted from another sannyāsī. Although the Lord was independent in all respects, still, to keep up the formalities of the śāstras, He accepted the sannyāsa order from Keśava Bhāratī, although Keśava Bhāratī was not in the Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya (school).
After consulting with Keśava Bhāratī, the Lord left Navadvīpa for Katwa to formally accept the sannyāsa order of life. He was accompanied by Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu, Candraśekhara Ācārya, and Mukunda Datta. Those three assisted Him in the details of the ceremony. The incident of the Lord's accepting the sannyāsa order is very elaborately described in the Caitanya-bhāgavata by Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura.
Thus at the end of His twenty-fourth year the Lord accepted the sannyāsa order of life in the month of Māgha. After accepting this order He became a full-fledged preacher of the Bhāgavata-dharma. Although He was doing the same preaching work in His householder life, when He experienced some obstacles to His preaching He sacrificed even the comfort of His home life for the sake of the fallen souls. In His householder life His chief assistants were Śrīla Advaita Prabhu and Śrīla Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura, but after He accepted the sannyāsa order His chief assistants became Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu, who was deputed to preach specifically in Bengal, and the six Gosvāmīs (Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī), headed by Śrīla Rūpa and Sanātana, who were deputed to go to Vṛndāvana to excavate the present places of pilgrimage. The present city of Vṛndāvana and the importance of Vrajabhūmi were thus disclosed by the will of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The Lord, after accepting the sannyāsa order, at once wanted to start for Vṛndāvana. For three continuous days He traveled in the Rāḍha-deśa (places where the Ganges does not flow). He was in full ecstasy over the idea of going to Vṛndāvana. However, Śrīla Nityānanda diverted His path and brought Him instead to the house of Advaita Prabhu in Śāntipura. The Lord stayed at Śrī Advaita Prabhu's house for a few days, and knowing well that the Lord was leaving His hearth and home for good, Śrī Advaita Prabhu sent His men to Navadvīpa to bring mother Śacī to have a last meeting with her son. Some unscrupulous people say that Lord Caitanya met His wife also after taking sannyāsa and offered her His wooden slipper for worship, but the authentic sources give no information about such a meeting. His mother met Him at the house of Advaita Prabhu, and when she saw her son in sannyāsa dress, she lamented. By way of compromise, she requested her son to make His headquarters in Purī so that she would easily be able to get information about Him. The Lord granted this last desire of His beloved mother. After this incident the Lord started for Purī, leaving all the residents of Navadvīpa in an ocean of lamentation over His separation.
The Lord visited many important places on the way to Purī. He visited the temple of Gopīnāthajī, who had stolen condensed milk for His devotee Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī. Since then Deity Gopīnāthajī is well known as Kṣīra-corā-gopīnātha. The Lord relished this story with great pleasure. The propensity of stealing is there even in the absolute consciousness, but because this propensity is exhibited by the Absolute, it loses its perverted nature and thus becomes worshipable even by Lord Caitanya on the basis of the absolute consideration that the Lord and His stealing propensity are one and identical. This interesting story of Gopīnāthajī is vividly explained in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī.