The work presents the earliest and most important compendium on the section of Indian medicine that is traditionally called nidana, the Rogaviniscaya by Madhava, usually referred to as Madhavanidana. Though the first work of this type to appear in the field of Sanskrit medical literature, it has remained a classic up to modern times. Madhava set the diseases should be described. In this, he definitely improved upon the earlier Samhitas, in which a restricted number of diseases are dealt with in the section. Collecting his material from the Samhitas, for the greater part at least, and selecting what was appropriate to the nature of his work and its scope, he organized the whole in a new way. Madhava clearly met with success as reflected in the compendia written by subsequent authors. The text of a Sanskrit medical treatise is not clear in many instances and may be interpreted in a number of ways. The commentaries are indispensable for a correct understanding of the way in which difficult passages were explained according to tradition. The text of the most important commentary on the Madhavanidana, the Madhukosa, is presented here in English translation.
Gerrit Jan Meullenbeld was born on May 28th, 1928, in Borne (Netherlands). After studying medicine and Sanskrit at the State University of Utrecht (1946-1954) he specialized in psychiatry (1956-1961) and psychotherapy. He was a member of the psychiatric staff of the Deltaziekenhuis (Portugal) during the years 1961-1978. On November 1st, 1978 he joined the psychiatric staff of Dr. S. Van Mesdag-kliniek (Groningen); at the same time, he began teaching Sanskrit and Ayurveda at the Institute of Indian Studies of the State University of Groningen. He abandoned his position at the University on April 1st, 1986. He has published widely on Ayurveda and the history of medicine in India, including the monumental multi-volumed study entitled A History of Indian Medical Literature (1999-2002).