Dakshinamurti is Shiva in his aspect as the universal teacher, teaching the secrets of yoga, tantras, yantras, alchemy, magic, occult knowledge, arts and sciences, ancient history or knowledge of the future to the sages and saints, gods and goddesses and his highly qualified devotees. Shiva teaches sitting on the snowy mountains of the Himalayas. He faces south towards the Indian subcontinent. Dakshinamurti literally translated means "south Facing Lord". The southern direction is an auspicious direction to face. By Shiva teaching with his body pointed to the southern direction he is basically showing to everyone that he is a god and thus above any worldly traditions.
The images of Dakshanamurthi, depict Shiva in his pleasant mood, seated on a high rock seat, with one leg folded while the other rests on the Apasmarapurusha the dwarf, the deluded self. Two of his arms hold a snake or drum or both in one hand and fire in the other. The snake is a symbol of tantric knowledge and the fire symbol of enlightenment. His remaining right hand is in abhaya mudra posture of assurance and the other holds a copy of scripture in gnanamudra posture of presenting knowledge.