The work presents 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 standard as to the order in which the diseases should be described. In this he definitely improved upon the earlier samhitas, in which a restricted number of diseases is dealth 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.