The origin of the Six Ornaments of Naropa goes back to the eleventh century. At this time, the Tibetan translator Marpa Choekyi Lodro of Lhodrak visited India three times and Nepal four times, encountering hundreds of erudite and accomplished Masters.
His principal Gurus were the learned Naropa and Lord Maitripa from whom he received the complete empowerments, and the essential instructions that contain the ultimate meaning of all the Sutras and Tantras. Under these Masters, he also studied the extraordinary teachings of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa. By perfectly accomplishing those practices, he obtained full and ultimate realization.
Finally, Lord Naropa declared to Marpa: "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. I 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."
Following this declaration, Lord Naropa offered to Marpa the bone ornaments, which he was wearing and his rosary of rubies, as well as other ritual objects. Lord Naropa laid his noble hands upon the head of his regent Marpa, blessed him and gave him more instructions and then left to engage in victorious activity in all directions, beyond mundane existence.
Thus the Lord Marpa returned to Tibet. He released there the essence of the teachings, turning the wheel of ultimate truth for innumerable amount of students. Amongst his disciples were 'The Four Major Spiritual Sons' to whom he fully transmitted the four streams of oral instructions which he held.
One of these four great disciples was a sage inclined to give harmoniously flowing and ample explanations, like pearls of a necklace. His name was Ngokton Choku Dorje (1036-1102) and to him Marpa gave the particular transmission of the four classes of Tantras: root texts, sadhanas, essential commentaries and instructions. Marpa also entrusted him with the ritual objects which were the supports for the practice of Naropa and his Six Ornaments, announcing to Ngokton in a prophetic manner, " Keep these. Now for your forthcoming descendents, until the seventh generation, simply knowing how to hold vajra and bell will be sufficient for the Master himself to bestow the waves of grace."
As he had prophesized, the Six Sacred Ornaments remained the possession of the Masters of the lineage of Ngok until the advent of the seventh generation, and they were venerated as devotional support.
Then came the time when the Seventh Ngok, Ngokton Jangchub (1360-1446), encountered the Gyalwang Drukpa - Kunga Paljor, the Second Incarnation. Ngonton Jangchub then granted the Gyalwang Drukpa the totality of the teachings transmitted in the lineage of Ngok, and offered him the Six Ornaments and the initiation vase of Lama Ngok, amongst other treasures. By proclaiming him holder of his teachings, he finally declared: "The Dharma returns in the hands of its Sovereign!" and he then announced that the Victorious Dragon was the Incarnation of the Lord Naropa.
Since then the Incarnations of the Gyalwang Drukpa have successively inherited the Ornaments, which they kept as devotional support. The Gyalwang Drukpa offered them for viewing so that those fortunate beings who see them may accumulate merit.