Krishna is chanting, and we are hearing, and thus realization takes place in the heart, not the head. The Holy Name descends from the spiritual stratum (Prabhupada), and therefore we do not actually chant, but we allow Krishna to manifest in sound by submitting to the impulse (inspiration) felt in the heart. In other words, when the conditioned soul wandering aimlessly in the material universe comes in touch with a pure devotee of the Lord (hears the name from the lips of a pure devotee), at that time, if he is fortunate, he feels the impulse to chant Hare Krishna and thus spontaneously the Name wells up from his heart (who is actually Krishna in sound form), and such a person is seen to be chanting the Holy Name. However, it is only after some time of purification.
By following the process of Viddhi Bhakti, rules and regulations of bhakti-yoga, that such fortunate person actually realizes the true nature of the Holy Name and his relationship with the Name and then other qualities of Krishna unfold—form, etc.
We do not chant the Name. The Name is independently welling up in the heart, manifesting on our tongue as apparently a sound initiated and vibrated by us. Actually, all we do is submit to the impulse or inspiration of the Name welling up of His own sweet will. Or in other words, we stop resisting and start submitting. Chanting the Holy Name is the first positive sign in the conditioned soul that he is beginning to surrender to the will of Krishna. Accepting prasadam is also a very significant sign of submission. We tame a wild animal by offering the animal food. Gradually the animal will begin to trust and become attached to you.
So the conditioned soul is like wood. Within wood there is fire. Wood is the sun’s energy condensed. When another piece of wood, which is on fire, comes in contact with the dormant wood, it brings out the fire dormant in that piece of wood. So the pure devotee, who is perfectly in touch with Krishna through His Holy Name, can or does by his chanting the Holy Name give the opportunity to the wooden-like conditioned souls to realize Krishna by inspiring in their hearts the awakening or rather the submission to the inspiration of the Holy Name to well up in their hearts or blaze forth from their hearts, like fire from wood.
So to keep this fire alive, once it has started, the neophyte devotee is instructed to maintain a certain life style which is conducive to the fire of chanting the Holy Name, just as one has to keep water away from the wood, if he wants the fire to burn nicely.
Nothing is more important than chanting the Holy Name with proper attention and understanding, for without realizing the true nature of the process and identity of the Holy Name, no further progress can be made in spiritual life. A person may be very learned in shastra, expert in following the rules and regulations of religion, austere and performer of immense penances, but all this will be only a burden if he cannot realize the transcendental nature of chanting the Holy Name of Krishna.
Brahmand brahmite bhagyavan jiva/ guru krishna prasade pay bhakti lata bija: After wandering throughout the universe (up and down) in 8,400,000 species of life, if one is fortunate, he gets the opportunity to meet a pure devotee of the Lord, who sows within his heart the Holy Name of Krishna (bhakti-lata bija), and therefore the door to liberation is made possible or opened for him.
The conclusion is one should under all circumstances follow the heart and give reasons for it from the head. At the present moment, we follow our head and close our heart. That is the true cause of insanity. Everything is reversed.