Madhavanidanam (माधवनिदानम्)

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Madhavanidanam (माधवनिदानम्) is one of the classical Samhita (compendium) on Ayurveda. It was originally named as Rugvinischayam (रुग्विनिश्चयम्) by the author. It is a part of Laghutrayee. This compendium primarily focuses on clinical diagnosis of various Vyadhis or Rogas (Diseases) described in Ayurveda. It offers detail description of Nidanapanchakam i.e. evaluation or diagnosis of various diseases with the use of 5 elements.

परिचयः॥ Introduction

The name Madhavanidanam literally means 'Nidanam' written by author named Madhava. Nidanam is the Samskrit term which refers to the compendium which describes Nidanam (Evaluation, assessment and discernment) of various diseases. The author named his work originally as Rugavinishchayam. Rugavinishchayam is a Samskrit term composed of 2 parts 'Ruk' (रुग्) meaning pain or suffering and Vinishchaya (विनिश्चयम्) meaning determination. Thus, the author named his work as ‘A guide to determine the disease i.e guide to diagnose the disease as per the Ayurvedic system of Medicine’.

भाषा॥ Language

This classic has been written in Samskrit language. Being the most popular and widely referred treatise on Ayurvedic diagnostic methods, various Ayurveda scholars have translated it in multiple Indian as well as foreign languages for easy understanding of the text.

ग्रन्थकर्ता॥ About the Author

The treatise, Madhavanidanam is named after its author, Shree Madhavakara.

He was the son of Indukara and belonged to the Kara family of physicians; consequently, he is also referred to as Madhavakara.

Madhavakara is popularly known as Madhavacharya

He is believed to be the archetype among the pathologists of that time. Also, he is acknowledged as one of the supreme Ayurvedic physicians even today because of his remarkable work in the field of clinical diagnosis and determining the cause of the disease. He is the pioneer to document nidana (Pathophysiology) in a such a simple but systematic way that its creation Madhavanidanam got highest appreciations right from its creation till today in Ayurveda fraternity.

ग्रन्थविषयः॥ Subject / Focus

Madhavanidanam, is a well-known treatise which has taken recognition and appreciation from millions of people of Ayurvedic community as authoritative text for understanding patho-physiology of various diseases. This is the compendium developed in the later times, on the foundations laid by Brhatrayee. Rather than covering all aspects of Ayurveda shastra, Acharya Madhava focused his efforts on developing the treatise exclusively dedicated for evaluation and diagnosis of diseases. Thus, this compendium does not cover description of any other topic but, deals exclusively and exhaustively with the diagnosis of the diseases.

आधारभूत ग्रन्थाः ॥ Foundation / source of knowledge

Madhavanidanam was developed on the foundations of knowledge resourced from Charaka samhita, Sushruta samhita, Ashtanga sangraha, Ashtanga hrudaya and many other classical texts passed on from generations to generations. Along with the existing knowledge, Acharya Madhava added his own observations about various known and newer diseases prevalent at that time. In this manner, he could elaborate in detail on many diseases previously described by Ayurveda acharyas as well as newer diseases prevalent in his times and make a complete guide on detail evaluation of diseases on the basis of elements of Nidanapanchakam.

रचना॥ Structure

The compendium of Madhavanidanam comprises of 2 parts having 69 adhyayas (Chapters) in total.

  1. First part - called as Purvardham and contains elaboration on basic concept of Nidanapanchakam in Ayurveda and description of multiple diseases on the basis of this theme in 32 adhyayas.
  2. Second part - known as Uttarardham and comprises 37 adhyayas dedicated to detail description and evaluation of various diseases.

There are almost 1530 verses in 69 chapters in Madhavanidanam and these are adopted by following branches of Ayurveda,

  • Kayachikitsa (Internal medicine),
  • Graha (Astrology and transcendence)
  • Shalyatantra (Diseases for surgical intervention)
  • Shalakyatantra (Diseases of ENT)
  • Kaumarbhritya (Paediatrics, all-encompassing of Obstetrics and gynaecology)
  • Agadatantra (Toxicology)

It does not include information of Rasayana (Rejuvenation) and Vajikarana (Aphrodisiac) branches of Ayurveda since most of the part of these branches is related to use of medicine and other therapeutic modalities which is out of the scope of Madhavanidanam.

टीका ॥ Commentaries on Madhavanidanam

Large number of Ayurveda scholars have written commentaries on Madhavanidanam. Today some 10 to 15 commentaries on Madhavanidanam written by various authors are available. The most popular and widely referred commentary among available commentaries is known as 'Madhukosha' and it is written by Vijayarakshita and Shrikanthadatta.