Material knowledge means ignorance of the knowledge of one's own self. Philosophy means to seek after the right knowledge of one's own self, or the knowledge of self-realization. Without self-realization, philosophy is dry speculation or a waste of time and energy. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives the right knowledge of one's own self, and by hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam one can get free from material attachment and enter into the kingdom of fearlessness. This material world is fearfulness. Its prisoners are always fearful as within a prison house. In the prison house no one can violate the jail rules and regulations, and violating the rules means another term for extension of prison life. Similarly, we in this material existence are always fearful. This fearfulness is called anxiety. Everyone in the material life, in all species and varieties of life, is full of anxieties, either by breaking or without breaking the laws of nature. Liberation, or mukti, means getting relief from these constant anxieties. This is possible only when the anxiety is changed to the devotional service of the Lord. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives us the chance to change the quality of anxiety from matter to spirit. This is done in the association of a learned philosopher like the self-realized Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the great son of Śrī Vyāsadeva. Mahārāja Parīkṣit, after receiving warning of his death, took advantage of this opportunity by association with Śukadeva Gosvāmī and achieved the desired result.
There is a sort of imitation of this reciting and hearing of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by professional men, and their foolish audience thinks that they will get free from the clutches of material attachment and attain the life of fearlessness. Such imitative hearing of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is a caricature only, and one should not be misled by such a performance of bhāgavatam saptāha undertaken by ridiculous greedy fellows to maintain an establishment of material enjoyment.