The Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (120-24) states that Rāmānanda Rāya was formerly Arjuna. He is also considered to have been an incarnation of the gopī Lalitā, although in the opinion of others he was an incarnation of Viśākhādevī. He was a most confidential devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “Although I am a sannyāsī, My mind is sometimes perturbed when I see a woman. But Rāmānanda Rāya is greater than Me, for he is always undisturbed, even when he touches a woman.” Only Rāmānanda Rāya was endowed with the prerogative to touch a woman in this way; no one should imitate him. Unfortunately, there are rascals who imitate the activities of Rāmānanda Rāya. We need not discuss them further.
In Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s final pastimes, Rāmānanda Rāya and Svarūpa Dāmodara always engaged in reciting suitable verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other books to pacify the Lord’s ecstatic feelings of separation from Kṛṣṇa. When Lord Caitanya went to southern India, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya advised Him to meet Rāmānanda Rāya, declaring that there was no devotee as advanced in understanding the conjugal love of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. While touring South India, Lord Caitanya met Rāmānanda Rāya by the bank of the Godāvarī, and in their long discourses the Lord took the position of a student, and Rāmānanda Rāya instructed Him. Caitanya Mahāprabhu concluded these discourses by saying, “My dear Rāmānanda Rāya, both you and I are madmen, and therefore we met intimately on an equal level.” Lord Caitanya advised Rāmānanda Rāya to resign from his government post and come back to Jagannātha Purī to live with Him. Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu refused to see Mahārāja Pratāparudra because he was a king, Rāmānanda Rāya, by a Vaiṣṇava scheme, arranged a meeting between the Lord and the King. This is described in the Madhya-līlā, Chapter Twelve, verses 41-57. Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya was present during the water sports of the Lord after the Ratha-yātrā festival.
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu considered Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya and Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī to be equal in their renunciation, for although Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya was a gṛhastha engaged in government service and Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī was in the renounced order of complete detachment from material activities, they were both servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who kept Kṛṣṇa in the center of all their activities. Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya was one of the three and a half personalities with whom Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu discussed the most confidential topics of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised Pradyumna Miśra to learn the science of Kṛṣṇa from Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya. As Subala always assisted Kṛṣṇa in His dealings with Rādhārāṇī in kṛṣṇa-līlā, so Rāmānanda Rāya assisted Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His feelings of separation from Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya was the author of the Jagannātha-vallabha-nāṭaka.