This is Siva 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
He is called Dakshinamurthy, because he does his teachings
sitting on the snowy mountains of Himalayas and facing towards
the Indian subcontinent, which is in the southerly direction to
The images of Dakshinamurthy, depict Siva in his pleasant
mood, seated on a high seat, with one leg folded while the other
rests on the Apasmarapurusha, the deluded self.
Two of his arms hold a snake or rosary or both in one hand and
fire in the other. The snake is a symbol of tantric knowledge and
the fire is a symbol of enlightenment. Of the remaining two one
is in abhayamudra (posture of assurance) and the other holds a
scripture in gnanamudra (posture of presenting knowledge).
This image signifies the importance of Siva in the form of
Linga as the Supreme Self, without a beginning and without an
end. According to Hindu mythology, Siva once revealed his
infinity to Brahma and Vishnu in the form of a pillar of fire
that could not be scaled by either of them from one end to the
other. As Lingodhbava-murthy, Siva appears seated in the heart of
a Linga, with four arms, while Brahma and Vishnu adore him from
the two sides.
This is Siva in his ascetic aspect, wandering from place to
place, with a begging bowl made of human skull, doing penance or
lost in his own thoughts. Even today we can see some followers of
Siva going around the villages in India in this form. Some of
them even do a little magic to attract our attention or scare
away the trailing children.
This is Siva in a mood of reconciliation and friendship with
Vishnu. Also known as Harihara or Sankaranarayana. The images
show the right half of Shiva on the right side of the image and
the left half of Vishnu on the left side.
This Siva and Parvathi together in one form signifying the
unity of Purusha and Prorate. The feminine left half of Parvathi
is fused with the masculine right half of Siva in one continuous
form, sometimes standing with the Bull Nandi in the background,
or sitting on a pedestal and blessing the worlds, with eyes open