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It means causative factor. The broad meaning of Nidana includes diagnosis and knowledge of disease. The section Nidana Sthana deals with knowledge of disease in detail.
Nidana is of three types:
- Asatmyendriyarthasamyoga (unsuitable contact of sense organs with their objects)
- Pragyaparadha (intellectual errors or knowingly engaging in harmful activities), and
- Kala (time, seasonal, temporal factors).