The 4 gAna-s that comprise the vaishadeva series are based on the code words:
rAT, virAT, svarAT, saMrAT. The first is for the conquest of pR^ithivi, the second for the conquest of antarikSha and the third and fourth for the conquest of dyaus. The first sAman opens the earthly door so that the yajamAna might behold the vasu-s. The second opens the door of the atmosphere so that the yajamAna might behold the rudra-s. The third and fourth sAmAn-s open the door of the sky so that the yajamAna might behold the Aditya-s and other deva-s. The sAman-s end in oblations that state that after the end of the life of the yajamAna “attains” these loka-s. I have repeatedly heard the colloquial tradition among smArta ritualists that states that these mantra-s are a means of attaining these “upper” worlds of the gods upon the death of the yajamAna. I was however puzzled by the need to go to pR^ithivI when you are already there. If it was merely restricted to opening doors to go upwards with the funerary fire to the atmosphere and beyond then the colloquial belief is fine, but what about the earthly doors?
In reality these sAman-s should be taken in the same sense as the vedAntic teaching of the last part of taittirIyopaniShat 3.10 (the section beginning with asmAl-lokAt pretya; Here too, the brahmavit sings a sAman as he attains universal consciousness upon his death). So what is meant here is that the yajamAna experiences and expansion of consciousness to become part of the pR^ithivI, antarikSha and dyaus simultaneously. The image of the opening door is the related to this and the passage of his consciousness to encompass these realms. To the outside observer all this will appear to be either extremely bewildering or the usual mumbo-jumbo :-). But if one looks at the altered consciousness experienced by subjects under the influence N,N-dimethyltryptamine one can see that the themes of both the gAna-s in the taittirIya and the Chandogya are closely reproduced even in people who have never encountered these texts (including the act of dying, which happens early in a DMT experience, and then the expansion of consciousness to occupy the worlds). The big question is how did the vipra-s attain experience of these states –was it via substance or a proto-yoga?