Diagnosis forms the most significant part of medicine. The development of the science of diagnosis through successive stages of history makes not only an interesting read but it also equips one with the experiences, successes and the learning achieved by countless generations in the yore and helps one to address problems of the future in an organized way.
The pre-modern diagnostics as prevalent and propounded by seers like Caraka and Susruta and countless other scholars was precisely put together by the Madhava Nidana authored by Madhavakara somewhere in 9th century AD. The work seems to have immediately caught the attention of physicians in India and abroad who found it the most serviceable text on diagnostics. Small wonder, many scholars produced commentaries on Madhava Nidana across the country. These commentaries detailed the ideas contained in the work and on occasions, even advanced, and repudiated the assumptions of Madhavakara as well as that of great seers of the yore. A reading into the various commentaries on Madhava Nidana demonstrates the background of Argumentative Indian Prof. Amartya Sen has been talking about recently. It also demonstrates the old Indian spirit of tolerance and the practice of lending a patient ear to the diverse and contradictory views.
Nonetheless, it is only a truism that decline of Ayurveda mostly owed to its poor standards of diagnostics. Therefore, it is significant that an authentic text on Ayurvedic diagnosis along with is Commentary is brought to the access of English knowing readers. In preparing the present work, it was a matter of satisfaction for us as we attempted to add modern perspectives every here and there in the text.
It is hoped that through the present work, the students of Ayurveda, the practicing physicians, and those interested in Indian History could have a better understanding of pre-modern Indian society as well as its medicine.