The most sacred relic at display in Naropa festival
The six bone ornaments of Naropa which will be in display during Naropa event in Hemis, Ladakh is said to be some of the most significant Buddhist relics in active use. Naropa is said to have wore the six bone ornaments upon the moment of enlightenment and is considered historic artifact of Himalayan culture.
Marpa who was known for his translating skills and also student to Naropa is believed to have received extraordinary teachings from Mahamudra and the six yogas of Naropa. By perfectly accomplishing these practices, Marpa obtained enlightenment. Upon this accomplishment, Naropa had declared: “The blessings of Master Krishnacharya breathed life into the lineages of eastern regions, the Master Aryacharya has blessed the lineage of the south, and the King Indrabhodi transmitted his spiritual influence to the western lineages. Bestow the waves of grace to the lineages of the north, the lands of snow. You have nothing more to do here - return to Tibet. I impart to you the power of my legacy; I appoint you my regent on the roof of the world. The land of snow abounds in potential disciples, worthy vessels for my teachings.”
Then, Naropa had offered Marpa the six bone ornaments and prophesized that the six bone ornaments would remain in the lineage that sprang from Naropa and would be used as devotional support.
Marpa is considered an important Buddhist figure spreading the teachings of Naropa and the six bone ornaments continue to offer devotional support. Marpa had entrusted the six bone ornaments of Naropa to the great disciple, Ngokton Choku Dorje (1036-1102 CE) with the instructions to safeguard the six bone ornaments until the seventh generation when he shall return the six bone ornaments to the rightful master. The seventh Ngokton lineage holder, Ngokton Jangchub (1360-1446 CE) then encountered the Gyalwang Drukpa and had announced that the Gyalwang Drukpa is the incarnate of Naropa, the scholar saint and presented the six bone ornaments of Naropa.
For close to a thousand years, the six bone ornaments have been used as a relic of devotional support. Devotees believe that worthy seekers of truth may obtain enlightenment by merely seeing it and is regarded as a living piece of Himalayan history. Now, every 12 years, on the roof top of the Himalayas, Gyalwang Drukpa dons the six bone ornaments in Ladakh, India at one of the Himalayas’ biggest gatherings, Naropa events. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world flock to the month long ritual to partake in one of the oldest, most sacred ceremonies of the Himalayas. For many, they come to pay homage, others come to receive blessings, but to the people of the region it is a symbol of devotion, compassion and a reminder a rich heritage.