The theme of the sixteenth chapter is the analysis of divine and devilish qualities that are present in every human being. Shri Krishna beings by listing all of the divine qualities such as fearlessness and purity of mind. He then provides a similar but brief list of devilish qualities such as ostentation and arrogance. He underscores the point that the divine qualities are a stepping stone towards self realization and liberation, but the devilish qualities are a slippery slope towards never-ending bondage and sorrow
Next, the philosophy of materialists is analyzed in great detail, because extreme materialism is considered no different than devilish nature. At its core, materialists do not believe in any overarching humanitarian laws or values, since they see the world as nothing but a combination of elements. Material gain is the sole aim of their lives. Anyone or anything that comes in their aim is a target for annihilation.
Shri Krishna says that such people are steeped in delusion and ignorance. Instead of bringing happiness, their infinite desires only bring them infinite worries. These infinite desires bind them and prod them to illegal and unethical means of accumulating wealth. What should I acquire next, whom should I harm next, this becomes their thinking. They develop extreme arrogance and pride towards their family, their wealth and their actions. They totally sever any association with whatever little values and conscience in them.
Such people never realize that by hating everyone they hate Ishvara who dwells in everyone and everything, who is the support of this creation. Although such people think that they are above all laws, they are not above the law of karma. They get the results of their actions in this life and several others to come. Caring only for themselves, they have begun behaving like animals even when they are human. Therefore they are cast into an endless cycle of births and deaths as animals, insects and other creatures.
Shri Krishna ends this chapter with an extremely practical message. He gives us a simple formula that will give us peace and happiness in this world, and also put us on a fast track to liberation. All we need to do is to avoid the three gates of hell which are desire, anger and greed. We do so by making scripture become the motivator and the prompter of our actionsm and not selfish desire.